Artist: Letta Mbulu
Song: “What is Wrong With Groovin’?”
Letta Mbulu was born and raised in Soweto, South Africa in 1942. She sang in musicals and a few recordings, but fled for the United States in 1965 due to Apartheid.
While in New York City she connected with other South African musicians including Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Jonas Gwangwa, and went on to work with Cannonball Adderley, David Axelrod and Harry Belafonte.
Her voice can also be heard on film productions like the TV series “Roots” and “The Color Purple.” Mbulu also performed 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.”
“Mbulu is the roots lady, projecting a sophistication and warmth which stirs hope for attaining pure love, beauty and unity in the world.” - Quincy Jones, producer
Sam’s Jams is the weekly song selection of WDET’s creative producer Sam Beaubien, a longtime Detroit musician who also helms the soul-funk band Will Sessions.
From 70 years ago to contemporary releases today, Sam’s Jams is the musical equivalent of digging for hours in dusty record store bins to find forgotten-but-should-be-remembered deep cuts pulled from the genres of funk, jazz and soul genres.