Elizabeth Cotten: The black female musician you may not know, has written many songs you probably do

The twice-nominated folk musician, Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten won her first Grammy at 90 years old.

Fiercely proud of her North Carolina roots, her lyrics and melodies weave intricate tales about her life in the South. A singer and songwriter, The Grateful Dead produced several renditions of “Oh, Babe, It Ain’t No Lie,” a song she composed. Bob Dylan covered other songs she created including “Shake Sugaree” and “Freight Train.”

Other famous acts including Joan Baez, Gary Clark Jr., Peter, Paul and Mary, and The Quarrymen, who evolved into The Beatles, also covered her songs.

Joni Mitchell’s Wisdom

“I heard someone from the music business saying they are no longer looking for talent, they want people with a certain look and a willingness to cooperate. I thought, that’s interesting, because I believe a total unwillingness to cooperate is what is necessary to be an artist — not for perverse reasons, but to protect your vision. The considerations of a corporation, especially now, have nothing to do with art or music. That’s why I spend my time now painting.”

Joni Mitchell

Johnny Clegg obituary, 1953-2019

Johnny Clegg, who has died of cancer aged 66, was a white singer-songwriter who became a national hero in South Africa by using music to defy the apartheid-era segregation laws. He challenged the authorities by forming mixed-race bands, performing to both black and white audiences, and mixing Zulu influences into songs that brought him international success. Known as the “white Zulu” or umlungu omnyama (“the black white person”), he spoke fluent Zulu and was an energetic and skilful exponent of Zulu dance.

He was best known for the poignant, stirring 1987 anthem Asimbonanga (We have not seen him), a tribute to Nelson Mandela, who was then still in jail, and to other key figures of the anti-apartheid struggle. 

Zimbabwe buries Afro-jazz legend Oliver Mtukudzi

Mourners have travelled across Zimbabwe to attend the burial on Sunday of one of the country’s most renowned musicians Oliver Mtukudzi.

On Saturday, his coffin was taken in a funeral procession through the national stadium in the capital Harare.