Singer (South Africa)

Busi Mhlongo, known as the queen of Zulu music, died from breast cancer on 16 June 2010. Originally from Inanda in KwaZulu Natal, she was a virtuoso singer, dancer and composer. Drawing on various South African styles such as mbaqanga, maskanda, marabi and traditional Zulu, fused with contemporary elements from jazz, funk, rock, gospel, rap, opera, reggae and West African music she produced a fresh and exciting sound.

Her 2001 album Urban Zulu blended her unique, expressive style of singing with the groove- oriented maskanda style, taking this Zulu genre in a new direction by using non-traditional instruments, up-to-the-minute studio techniques and call-and- response chorus vocals to create a Zulu album of global relevance. Busi's reinterpretation of maskanda expresses the agony, the ecstasy, the pain and joy, the trials and ironies of life in a modern urban South Africa.

She achieved the feat of being the first female maskanda artist to be recorded. She was also initiated as a sangoma, which influenced her music. Busi made her big screen debut in "Long Street", having worked with Revel Fox previously when he made a documentary about her called "Voice of the Spirit" .

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