23 August 1942 |
Soweto, South Africa
|Labels||Capitol Records, Chisa Records, Fantasy Records, A&M Records|
Born and raised in Soweto, South Africa, she has been active as a singer since the 1960s. While still a teenager she toured with the musical King Kong, — but left for the United States in 1965 due to Apartheid.
In New York City she connected with other South African exiles including Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Jonas Gwangwa, and went on to work with Cannonball Adderley, David Axelrod and Harry Belafonte.
On screen, her singing can also be heard in Roots, The Color Purple (1985), and the 1973 film A Warm December, and she was a guest on a Season 6 episode of Soul Train. Mbulu also provided the Swahili chant in Michael Jackson's single, "Liberian Girl". Producer Quincy Jones has said of her: "Mbulu is the roots lady, projecting a sophistication and warmth which stirs hope for attaining pure love, beauty, and unity in the world."
- Letta Mbulu Sings (Capitol, 1967)
- Free Soul (Capitol, 1968)
- Letta (Chisa, 1970)
- Naturally (Fantasy, 1972)
- There's Music in the Air (A&M, 1976)
- Letta (A&M, 1977)
- Letta Mbulu - Gold (A&M, 1978)
- Letta Mbulu - Sweet juju (Morning, 1985)
- The Best of Letta & Caiphus (Columbia, 1996)
- Greatest Hits (Columbia, 1999)
- Letta Mbulu Sings/Free Soul (Stateside, 2005)
- Culani Nami (Sony, 2007)
With Quincy Jones
- Roots (A&M, 1977)