This category celebrates the legacy of Miriam Makeba who through her art advanced the plight of the African people across the world. Whether it was addressing the United Nations in the dark days of apartheid or filling theatres abroad with African rhythms, Miriam Makeba was an activist whose foremost conduit was her craft.
Benjamin and Ibrahim (then known as Dollar Brand) met in South Africa at the end of the '50s. After leaving their homeland and emigrating to Europe, they met Duke Ellington in Switzerland in 1962. He sponsored recordings for the two; Benjamin's was unfortunately not released for the first time until 1996. She eventually sang with Ellington's orchestra at Newport (1965) and her first full recorded set as a leader (1979) was an Ellington tribute.
Sathima Bea Benjamin, who has led dates for Ekapa, BlackHawk, and Enja, has used such fine musicians as Ricky Ford, Kenny Barron, Buster Williams, and Billy Higgins.