African Music Encyclopedia


Lucky Dube


Lucky Dube made his debut singing rock 'n' roll with some school friends in the early 1970s. Soon he hooked up with his cousin, singer Richard Siluma, who was a member of the Love Brothers. Dube joined them singing and playing Zulu mbaqanga music and recorded his first record with them in 1979.

Inspired by the tours of reggae stars Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff, Dube sooon tried his hand at that genre. A marriage made in heaven, Dube and reggae hit it off, producing first, "Rastas Never Die" in the mid-1980s, then dovetailing into "Slave" in 1987, which sold over 500,000 copies, on of the largest South African sales figures for an album.

Dube paid his dues in the reggae community playing the popular annual Reggae Sunsplash in Jamaica and on tour, where discerning crowds greeted him with open arms. His voice has the soft growl of a tiger with the high power of Smokey Robinson's falsetto. His long, lean body, and playful dreadlocks make him a favorite with the ladies.

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