Lorraine Klaasen (the daughter of legendary South African Jazz singer Thandie Klaasen) is one of the few South African artists who have preserved the classic sound of Township Music, which continues to be the most distinctive sound to come out of South Africa. Born and raised in Soweto, Lorraine has electrified audiences worldwide with her dynamic stage presence and showmanship. Lorraine was influenced by South Africa’s musical giants of the 1950’s and 1960’s, such as Miriam Makeba (who was a close friend of Lorraine and Thandie) as well as Dolly Rathebe, Dorothy Masuka, Sophie Mgcina and Busi Mhlongo who frequented her mother’s home. In February 2008, Lorraine released the highly charged album Africa Calling on the Justin Time label. Through working with South African record producer Mongezi Chris Ntaka, and featuring bassist Bakhiti Khumalo (who also memorably performed on Paul Simon’s landmark album, Graceland), Lorraine accomplished her childhood dreams of taking Township music to the rest of the globe and making a truly African record that touches every heart & soul that beats the world over.
Her CD A Tribute To Miriam Makeba which won Lorraine the 2013 JUNO Award for ‘World Music Album of the Year’, is a tribute to the legendary songstress, who remains the most important female vocalist to emerge out of South Africa. Hailed as the ‘Empress of African Song’ and ‘Mama Africa’, she helped bring African music to a global audience in the ’60s. In a fitting homage, Lorraine and her band do ‘Auntie’ Miriam justice with energetic and heartfelt renditions of South African classic and traditional folk songs, including those that Miriam Makeba brought to the masses like Pata Pata, The Click Song and Jolinkomo, as well as Lorraine’s own compositions inspired by the lady herself.
Lorraine’s new and most ambitious CD is entitled Nouvelle Journée and is also co-produced by Mongezi; it showcases some of the musical styles that Lorraine has not yet recorded in her long musical career. On this album she sings in the Tsonga, Sotho, isiZulu and Xhosa languages of South Africa as well as English and French. The repertoire is thought provoking – the importance of family, empathy, love and hope make up Nouvelle Journée. It’s an optimistic, danceable record but also a lucid, sincere and engaging work.