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Lucky Dube (born Ermelo Dube; pronounced "doo bay") is one of South Africa's best-selling artists and one of its most outspoken performers. Although he initially sang in the traditional Zulu mbaqanga style, his move to reggae in 1984 was sparked by his quest to express his anger against the oppression of apartheid. While The Village Voice observed, "The spirit of Lucky Dube's music and dance epitomizes the spirit of Black liberation", Niceup Magazine wrote, "(Dube's) lyrics have brought an original voice to reggae by chronicling the political and spiritual struggles of his South African brethren". brethren musical talents were obvious from an early age. By the age of nine, he was conducting his school choir. After singing with school rock & roll bands, he joined his cousin, Richard Siluma's, mbaqanga band, the Love Brothers. Together with the group, he recorded his first single in 1979. Inspired by thcontroversialal lyrics of Peter Tosh, Dube moved to reggae in 1984. His earliest attempts with the newly adopted style were met by strong opposition by the then-all-white South African government, and his first reggae album, Rasta Never Die was banned from radio airplay. Without notifying his record label, Dube re-entered the recording studio and cut a second reggae album, Think About the Children. The album became a major hit and achieved gold record status. Dube's third reggae album, Slave, sold more than five hundred thousand copies.
Lucky Philip Dube (pronounced doo-beh) (3 August 1964 – 18 October 2007) was a South African reggae musician and Rastafarian. He recorded 22 albums in Zulu, English and Afrikaans in a 25-year period and was South Africa's biggest-selling reggae artist. Dube was murdered in the Johannesburg suburb of Rosettenville on the evening of 18 October 2007.Fun Facts, luckydubemusic.com, Retrieved 19 October 2007 Five facts about reggae star Lucky Dube, Reuters, 19 October 2007 S.Africa reggae icon shot and killed - radio, Reuters, 19 October 2007. Hijackers gun down Lucky Dube, News24.com, 19 October 2007 S African reggae star shot dead, BBC News, 19 October 2007,
ContentsBiography1.1 Early life1.2 Beginning of his musical career1.3 Moving into reggae1.4 Commercial and critical success1.5 Death1.6 Legacy
Lucky Dube was born in Ermelo, formerly of the Eastern Transvaal, now of Mpumalanga, on 3 August 1964. His parents separated before his birth and he was raised by his mother, Sarah, who named him Lucky because she considered his birth fortunate after a number of failed pregnancies. Along with his two siblings, Thandi and Patrick, Dube spent much of his childhood with his grandmother, while his mother relocated to work. In a 1999 interview, he described his grandmother as "his greatest love" who "multiplied many things to bring up this responsible individual that I am today."
Beginning of his musical career
As a child Dube worked as a gardener but, as he matured, realizing that he wasn't earning enough to feed his family, he began to attend school. There he joined a choir and, with some friends, formed his first musical ensemble, called The Skyway Band. While at school he discovered the Rastafari movement. At the age of 18 Dube joined his cousin's band, The Love Brothers, playing Zulu pop music known as mbaqanga whilst funding his lifestyle by working for Hole and Cooke as a security guard at the car auctions in Midrand. The band signed with Teal Record Company, under Richard Siluma (Teal was later incorporated into Gallo Record Company). Though Dube was still at school, the band recorded material in Johannesburg during his school holidays. The resultant album was released under the name Lucky Dube and the Supersoul. The second album was released soon afterwards, and this time Dube wrote some of the lyrics in addition to singing. It was around this same time when he began to learn English.
Moving into reggae
On the release of his fifth Mbaqanga album, Dave Segal (who became Dube's sound engineer) encouraged him to drop the "Supersoul" element of the name. All subsequent albums were recorded as Lucky Dube. At this time Dube began to note fans were responding positively to some reggae songs he played during live concerts. Drawing inspiration from Jimmy Cliff and Peter Tosh, he felt the socio-political messages associated with Jamaican reggae were relevant to a South African audience in an institutionally racist society.
He decided to try the new musical genre and in 1984, released the mini album Rastas Never Die. The record sold poorly - around 4000 units - in comparison to the 30,000 units his mbaqanga records would sell. Keen to suppress anti-apartheid activism, the apartheid regime banned the album in 1985, because of its critical lyrics, for instance in the song "War and Crime". However, he was not discouraged and continued to perform the reggae tracks live and wrote and produced a second reggae album. Think About The Children (1985). It achieved platinum sales status and established Dube as a popular reggae artist in South Africa, in addition to attracting attention outside his homeland.
Commercial and critical success
Dube continued to release commercially successful albums. In 1989 he won four OKTV Awards for Prisoner, won another for Captured Live the following year and yet another two for House Of Exile the year after. His 1993 album, Victims sold over one million copies worldwide. In 1995 he earned a worldwide recording contract with Motown. His album Trinity was the first release on Tabu Records after Motown's acquisition of the label.
In 1996 he released a compilation album, Serious Reggae Business, which led to him being named the "Best Selling African Recording Artist" at the World Music Awards and the "International Artist Of The Year" at the Ghana Music Awards. His next three albums each won South African Music Awards. His most recent album, Respect, earned a European release through a deal with Warner Music. Dube toured internationally, sharing stages with artists such as Sinéad O'Connor, Peter Gabriel and Sting. He appeared at the 1991 Reggae Sunsplash (uniquely that year, was invited back on stage for a 25-minute-long encore) and the 2005 Live 8 event in Johannesburg.
In addition to performing music Dube was a sometime actor, appearing in the feature films Voice In The Dark, Getting Lucky and Lucky Strikes Back.
Lucky Dube is considered to be especially remarkable as a Dub Artist due to his lack of a diasporic cultural base. This was particular due to the nature of Reggae and Dub being a platform for expression of displacement from the homeland. In Prisoner, the South African artist makes the genre his own by applying themes of apartheid and internal displacement. In the song and music video, he is found disturbing the bounds of the genre by highlighting the toils of his own homeland. He was revolutionary in so far as he introduced a competing version to Reggae's constant tendency of romanticizing the utopian homeland of Africa.
On 18 October 2007, Lucky Dube was killed in the Johannesburg suburb of Rosettenville shortly after dropping two of his seven children off at their uncle's house. Dube was driving his Chrysler 300C, which the assailants were after. Police reports suggest he was shot dead by carjackers who did not recognize him, and believe that he was Nigerian. Five men were arrested in connection with the murder; three were tried and found guilty on 31 March 2009. Two of the men attempted to escape and were caught. The men were sentenced to life in prison. Until his death he was a Christian and refrained from smoking or drinking alcohol in order to set an example for his children and others who looked up to him.
On 21 October 2008, Rykodisc released a compilation album entitled Retrospective, which featured many of Dube's most influential songs as well as previously unreleased tracks in the United States. The album celebrated Dube's music and honored the contributions he made to South Africa.Car jacker kills reggae star, CNN, 19 October 2007. Luvuyo Kakaza, "Getting Lucky". The Mail & Guardian. 26 August 1999. Retrieved 20 October 2007. Finding reggae, luckydubemusic.com, Retrieved 19 October 2007 Basildon Petain, South African reggae star shot dead in front of his children, The Independent, 19 October 2007. Condolences pour in for Lucky Dube, SABC, 19 October 2007. Discography, luckydubemusic.com, Retrieved 19 October 2007 Cite error: The named reference Reuters2 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Who's Who: Lucky Dube, News24, Retrieved 10 October 2007. Video on YouTube Bobb, Scott (19 October 2007). "S. African Reggae Star Lucky Dube Killed in Attempted Car-Jacking". VOA News (Voice of America). Retrieved 2 January 2009. http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/why-lucky-dube-was-killed-1.433296 Why Lucky Dube was killed "Five arrests over SA star's death". BBC News. 21 October 2007. Three Accused of the Murder of Lucky Dube Found Guilty Yahoo News, 31 March 2009 Reggae Star's Killers Get Life Independent, 3 April 2009. Lucky Dube - Bio|Artists|RYKODISC