Last Updated on September 8, 2018 by mybiohub
Louis Mhlanga was born on 10 November, 1956. He is a South African based Zimbabwean award-winning guitarist and producer. Mhlanga taught himself playing the guitar at a young age and is considered one of the best Southern African guitarists.
Mhlanga’s career began in the 1970s. Fronting many bands in Zimbabwe, he mixed American and Zimbabwean influences into his music. Louis became renowned for his guitar skills, and worked with Zimbabwean acts such as Shaka, Talking Drum, Ilanga, Mudzimu, and Oliver Mtukudzi. He eventually headed to South Africa to pursue different musical opportunities, leading to collaborations with renowned South African artists such as Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Ray Phiri, Sipho Mabuse, Mlunhgisi Gegane, and Busi Mhlongo.
He admired the traditionally derived pop of local musicians such as Thomas Mapfumo. His first album was released by BMG in Africa in the early 1990s ten years after it was recorded. Shamwari, his international debut album, introduced him as a guitarist who combined African pop and jazz
Mhlanga has produced albums by Thomas Mapfumo, Nigerian King Sunny Adé, and South African Vusi Mahalasela.
He is a former theater director and ran Zimbabwe’s Ethnomusicology Trust, where he was in charge of developing national teaching programs for traditional and contemporary Zimbabwean music. He also spent a year in the Netherlands, as the musician-in-residence at the Royal Dutch Conservatory of Music, he taught African guitar courses and recorded albums with Bassist Eric van der Westen, one of which also included Malian guitarist and singer Habib Koité.