Butler, Jonathan (South Africa)  
Jonathan Butler

JONATHAN Butler, the youngest of seventeen children, began singing publicly in many of the South African townships ravaged and brutalized by the apartheid of the late 1960s.

Because it was a challenge to attract the parental love and affection he desired from his mother and father, the young boy found his solace in music. His raspy, emotive tenor carried him away from home and throughout Africa, where he saw firsthand the injustices and prejudices of the ailing nation. Initially speaking Afrikaans, he gradually learned English while touring, and began to express himself through both voice and guitar. British record producer Clive Calder discovered the 12-year-old Butler and inked him to a record deal. His debut single was one of the first by a black artist to be played on white radio stations in South Africa and brought instant fame as well as a Sarie Award, South Africa's Grammy equivalent.

guitar, arranger, vocals
Genre: fusion, jazz, gospel / spiritual
In the early '80s, Butler signed with Calder's London-based Jive Records and established residency in England, his home for most of the next seventeen years. It was a duet with Ruby Turner, "If You're Ready (Come With Me)," from his self-titled album that introduced Butler to international audiences. The gold album spawned the Grammy-nominated pop hit, "Lies." Scatting note for note along with his ingenious guitar licks became one of the signatures of Butler's clever synthesis of organic African melodies and rhythms, funky R&B, rousing gospel and slick jazz.

His next seven albums were welcomed at urban, adult contemporary and smooth jazz radio formats and earned him a Grammy nomination (Going Home) and further pop acclaim with the single, "Sarah, Sarah." Story Of Life (n-coded music), is a revealing peek at the emotional turmoil Butler has experienced since leaving his motherland to seek a better life and freedom from oppression.

"While making this record, I realized that despite all the pain, suffering and atrocities, I'm still hopelessly in love with South Africa", he confides.
  Recordings : Butler, Jonathan
7th Avenue

7th Avenue - re-issue of great early South African recordings...

The Source

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