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Exclusive Video Interview With Jonathan Butler

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JGT Bob Bakert talks to South Africa’s Jonathan Butler, a powerhouse of talent… his guitar playing, vocals, and composition are truly world-class.

Jonathan Butler is an “A-lister” with the likes of Herbie Hancock and a delightful human.  We talk about his new project and about going back to his home country to give this recording a purity of purpose… Enjoy our interview with Jonathan Butler.


Born in South Africa under the oppression of apartheid along with his 11 siblings, it was the birthday gift of a guitar that set him on his life’s path. Discovering his natural talent at a young age Butler began to tour professionally which exposed him to life outside of South Africa.  Over the years He became a national icon, and the first non-white artist to be played on segregated South African radio and appear on national television. In addition to a string of hits beginning in the 1970s, Butler spoke out against injustice and his music of the time often reflected that struggle. His icon status was further solidified after performing at a celebration for Nelson Mandela held two months after his release from prison. It was at that concert when Mandela confided that Jonathan’s music was an inspiring force for him during his imprisonment.

Jonathan Butler photographed by Raj Naik in 2022 for Mack Avenue Records

Ubuntu is comprised of both emotionally moving instrumentals such as the title track (a harmonic convergence of ostinatos) and the tenderly gorgeous “Peace in Shelter” co-composed with Yellowjackets keyboardist Russell Ferrante (one of three featuring Butler’s wife Nadira Kimberly Scruggs on violin) and vocals that include the message songs “Rainbow Nation” (about the ongoing battle of Equalizers vs. Dividers), “Our Voices Matter” (‘If we look within, we won’t go without’) and “When Love Comes In” featuring blues singer Keb’Mo’.  The instant attention grabber is a cover of Stevie Wonder’s classic “Superwoman” with Wonder on harmonica.

South African Musician Jonathan Butler, Ubuntu

Other Jonathan Butler Albums



Exclusive Interview: JGT Bob Bakert talks to South Africa’s Jonathan Butler


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