Taj Mahal Musician
Full Name: Henry St. Clair Fredericks
Born: May 17, 1942 (age 79) New York City New York
Awards and Honors Received: Grammy Awards (2000) Grammy Awards (1997)
The Taj Mahal, whose original name is Henry St. Clair Fredericks, was born on 17 May 1942 in New York, New York, USA. He is a famous American singer, guitarist and songwriter who was one of the pioneers of what is called world music. They combined acoustic blues and other African-American music with Caribbean and West African music and other styles to create a distinctive sound.
Taj Mahal (according to him this name came to him in a dream) grew up in a musical family. His father, of Jamaican background, was a jazz musician and arranger; His mother, a schoolteacher, used to sing gospel music.
As a student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in the early 1960s, he began exploring the origins of African American music and focused on acoustic blues. After completing his graduation, he continued to play music in folk clubs until he moved to California in 1965. There he collaborated with Roy Cooder to form the band Rising Sons.
Returning to solo performance, he released his first album, Taj Mahal, in 1968. This and other albums were recorded over the next several years—notably—
Giant Step/d’Ole Folks at Home (1969) and
Recycling the Blues and Other Related Stuff (1972) – Additionally, blues songs were featured with ragtime, reggae, gospel and other sounds.
Mahal usually accompanies himself on a national steel guitar, but was proficient on several other instruments as well; He often incorporated exotic instruments such as electric instruments, tubes, steel drums and kalimba (thumb piano) into his recordings, often in unexpected combinations.
Mahal recorded several dozen albums during his career; a major collection
- In Progress and in Motion (1965–1998), was released in 1998.
- Discovered world music on Mumtaz Mahal (1995), recorded with Indian musicians;
- Sacred Island (1998),
- a spectacle in Hawaiian music; And
- Kulanjan (1999), in which he partnered with Malian kora player Toumani Diabet.
The works of the palace also included marks for the motion pictures—especially
Sounder (1972) and
Sounder II (1976), in which she also played—and a play originally written by Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston——
To the bone of the mule (1991).
In the 1930s he received a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album for Seer Blues (1997) and Shoutin’ in Key (2000), and his duet album with Keb ‘Mo’, Tajmo (2017) also earned that award.