Saturday, April 15, 2017

Exile's Song: Dorothy Masuka and "Zoo Lake"



Today's random tune is by South African legend Dorothy Masuka, a jazz singer born in southern Rhodesia in 1935. Of mixed Zulu and Zambian heritage, her health necessitated a move to South Africa in 1947. She began singing, and by 19 she was touring South Africa with singers she admired as a girl. In the 1950s, she was a very popular singer, but then her songs began to take a more serious turn, and in the 1960s the South African government began to pay more attention and they even brought her in for interrogation. Some of her songs were banned, and a song about Patrice Lumumba led to her 31 year exile in London. Masuka sings in both the Ndebele and Sindebele languages. This song, Zoo Lake, was made in London during her exile and can be found on the compilation album London is the Place for Me 4.