Caiphus Semenya
Caiphus Semenya

Caiphus Semenya

About Caiphus Semenya

Born in Johannesburg in 1939, Caiphus Semenya is a South African composer and musician whose apartheid-era Hollywood success laid the foundation for a successful return to his homeland in 1991. While living in Los Angeles (where he moved with his wife, singer Letta Mbulu, in 1964), Semenya sang backup for Miriam Makeba and was soon arranging for Harry Belafonte. Semenya's eclectic knowledge of American jazz and various South African styles, including Zulu, Xhosa, and Sesotho, earned him a prominent role scoring the influential Roots miniseries with Quincy Jones. (He also worked on The Lion King and The Color Purple.) Semenya's 1982 debut, Listen to the Wind, combined buoyant South African rhythms with the American pop acumen he'd absorbed. Back in South Africa, he unleashed a wedding standard with "Matswale," from 1996’s Woman Got a Right to Be which argues that only a mother-in-law can solve a husband's marriage difficulties.

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