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Phiri, Ray Chikapa (South Africa)  
Ray Phiri on stage 1999

IT has been indeed a long trip for Ray Phiri. From early days in Mpumalanga, where he was born and raised, where he used to dance to his troubadour fatherís puppet shows. Ray had his first break when he, in 1962, managed to dance for the legendary Dark City Sisters when they performed in Mpumalanga. He made enough money giving him a chance to travel to Johannesburg.

He became founder member of the soul music giants of the 1970ís, the Cannibals which were later joined by the late Mpharanyana. When the Cannibals disbanded Ray founded Stimela, with whom he conceived gold and platinum-winning albums like Fire, Passion and Ecstacy, Look, Listen and Decide as well as the controversial People Donít Talk So Letís Talk.

vocals, guitar
Genre: African Jazz, fusion, mbaqanga

It came as no surprise when one of their most memorable tracks Whispers in the Deep was restricted for broadcast by the old South African Broadcasting Corporation. In fact, this contributed heavily to Ray and Stimelaís popularity.

It was in the early 1990ís that American singer and musician Paul Simon asked Ray along with Ladysmith Black Mambazo to join his Graceland project, which was successful but also helped the South Africans to make names for themselves abroad. Ray was to collaborate with Paul Simon again on Simonís Rhythm of the Saints album, which saw him perform on stages such as Central Park and Madison Square Garden as well as appearing on top television shows in the US.

Ray has subsequently released a solo album, and has been active in education and cultural work, especially in his home province of Mapumalanga. His Mapumalanga based studio and production house have also had a hand in several productions.

Aside from work with Stimela, Ray Phiri remains a regular featured artist in the international Gracelands tours, is active in cultural development, and performs with his unit "Ray Phiri & Friends".

  Recordings : Phiri, Ray Chikapa
Chikapa's 11 Years

Chikapa's 11 Years

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