THREE STEPS WITHIN biography: McCoy Mrubata

Leading to the THREE STEPS WITHIN (TSW) performance at the State Theatre in Pretoria (Friday the 27th of November, 8 PM – 11 PM), we will individually profile the members of TSW. Three steps within consists of McCoy Mrubata (Saxophone and Flute), Concord Nkabinde (Bass Guitar and Vocals) and Lindiwe Maxolo (Vocals). 

This week will be featuring the biography of Mr McCoy Mrubata, which is taken from the THREE STEPS WITHIN press release.

(Photo credit above: by Sipho Maluka)

Lavatory Records

Photo credit : Mario Sales

McCoy Mrubata is a Saxophonist, Flautist, Composer & Arranger, Educator, Producer & Band Leader. He was awarded the Gilbey’s Music for Africa Award (1991) in and the South African Music Award (SAMA) in 2002, 2004 & 2008.

Born in Cape Town’s historic Langa township, South Africa. McCoy Mrubata grew up with the sounds of African soulful hymns of the Zion Church, the chants and rhythms of traditional healers as well as the Brassy Jive of the Merry Macs band who practice opposite his home. When schooling became impossible in the fiery aftermath of the 1976 uprising, the young McCoy, then playing flute, studied informally under Langa Township greats like Madoda Gxabeka, Winston Ngozi , Ezra Ngcukana , Duke Ngcukana, Blackie Tempi and Robert Sithole.

By early 1980s, Mrubata was playing in ‘cover bands’ such as Fever, Touch, Airborne and Vukani. He then moved to ‘crossover’ outfit ‘Louis and the Jive’. In 1987 McCoy was spotted by bandleader Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse who helped him make Johannesburg his home, where he joined PJ Powers’ band. That same year, McCoy Mrubata’s musicianship was spotted by veteran producer Koloi Lebona and that led to him recording & releasing his debut CD “Firebird” (1989) British based Record Company, Zomba Records, who were also responsible for the success of Artists like Jonathan Butler and Billy Ocean.

In 1989 he formed “Brotherhood”, which included great musicians such a Jimmy Dludlu (Guitarist) and later Moses Molelekwa (Pianist). In 1990 the band won the ‘Gilbey’s Music for Africa’ competition. In 1992 he began touring with Hugh Masekela’s ‘Lerapo’. Mrubata’s band leadership skills were being well developed as he went on to form other Bands, ‘Cape to Cairo’ and ‘McCoy and Friends’. To date, McCoy Mrubata has recorded 10 Solo CDs and 7 Collaboration CDs. In many of these recordings he worked with a personnel of Friends including Paul Hanmer (Pianist), Wessel van Rensburg (Pianist), Moses Ngwenya (Organist – Soul Brothers) and many more. Discography: Firebird, Tears of Joy, Phosa Ngasemva, Hoelykit, Face the Music, Icamagu Livumile, Brasskap Sessions Volume 1, The Best of the Early Years, The Best of McCoy Mrubata and Brasskap Sessions Volume 2. McCoy also won other Awards with Collaboration projects – The Sheer All Stars and Kulturation.

Internationally, McCoy has toured with a dazzling array of South African musicians including Hugh Masekela, Lucky Dube, Stimela, Sibongile Khumalo, Paul hanmer, Feya Faku and many more. He has also worked with Brazillian Duo Airto Moreira & Flora Purim. He has worked in 4 productions with Norway’s Nordic Black Theatre: 2 based on the life of Bob Marley, another playing a lead role on “Beyond The Blues” – the life of John Coltrane as well as another entitled “Indibano”. McCoy was also made musical Ambassador for the Angola COCAN 2010 Football competition. McCoy remains active as an Educator, conducting Jazz Youth Bands and teaching in different development projects through schools & festivals.

Lavatory Records

Photo Credit: Sipho Maluka


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