Mzansi Profiles! People Lorraine Klaasen Biography| Early Life, Music Career, Awards, Discography

Lorraine Klaasen Biography| Early Life, Music Career, Awards, Discography

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Lorraine Klaasen is a renowned South African-Canadian jazz singer and performer who has captivated audiences worldwide with her soulful and powerful vocal delivery. Influenced by the rich musical heritage of her homeland, Klaasen has dedicated her career to preserving and sharing the vibrant sounds of Township music and African jazz.

Early Life

Lorraine Klaasen was born in 1957 and raised in Soweto, South Africa. Her mother was renowned South African jazz singer Thandi Klaasen. Details about her educational background are scarce. She currently resides in London, Ontario, Canada, having previously lived in Montreal, Quebec.

 

Lorraine Klaasen Biography

Lorraine Klaasen Biography (Image Credit:Lorraine Klassen)

Throughout her career, Lorraine has performed at prestigious venues such as the Montreal International Jazz Festival, and has toured internationally in the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean. She and her mother were known to be among Nelson Mandela’s favorite musicians.

Also Read: Abigail Kubheka Biography| Early Life, Music and Acting Career, Filmography, Awards

Career

Klaasen’s musical style was heavily influenced by the South African jazz giants of the 1950s and 1960s, including Miriam Makeba, Dolly Rathebe, Dorothy Masuka, Sophie Mgcina, and Busi Mhlongo, who were contemporaries and friends of her mother. Klaasen began her career at a very young age, accompanying her mother to live performances across South Africa and neighboring countries like Mozambique and Swaziland.

In 2008, Klaasen released the critically acclaimed album “Africa Calling”. Through her collaboration with South African record producer Mongezi Chris Ntaka and bassist Bakhiti Khumalo (who also performed on Paul Simon’s landmark album “Graceland”), Klaasen was able to fulfill her lifelong dream of bringing Township music to a global audience and creating a profoundly African record that resonates with audiences worldwide.

Later in her career, Klaasen transitioned into musical theater and toured extensively throughout Europe, before eventually settling in Canada, where she made her home in Montreal. Her musical repertoire has since been infused with a blend of Quebec, Haitian, and French-African influences, as well as various African languages (Zulu, Sotho, Xhosa, Lingala) and the Caribbean roots of her band musicians, resulting in a truly eclectic sound.

Klaasen has also been a fervent promoter of the performing arts for Canadian youth, lending her support to organizations such as RapSohD Talented Teens Canada.

Awards and Nominations

Lorraine Klaasen’s remarkable career has been recognized with numerous accolades. In 1997, she received the prestigious Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award for her work and musical talent. In 2008, she was the recipient of the Planet Africa Award.

Klaasen was nominated and subsequently won the Juno Award for World Music Album of the Year in 2013 for her album “Tribute to Miriam Makeba,” released the previous year.

The following year, in 2014, Klaasen was invited to the Red Carpet for the Montreal SOCAN Awards, where she was honored with the Hagood Hardy prize for the World Music category. She also received the Singer-Songwriter of the Year award.

Klaasen’s accomplishments continued in 2020 when she was the recipient of the Forest City London Music Award.

In 2022, Klaasen is received the SAMW Legend Award during the South African Music Week. Additionally, she was the recipient of the World Music London Music Award in 2023.

Discography

– 2000: African Connexion (Magra Multi Media KLAA-0400)
– 2008: Africa Calling
– 2012: A Tribute to Miriam Makeba

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