Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Known For: Acting · Birthday: 1942-05-17 · Gender: Male · Place of Birth: Harlem, New York, USA

23 Movies · 8 TV shows

Also Known As: Henry Saint Clair Fredericks

Biography

Taj Mahal (born Henry Saint Clair Fredericks on May 17, 1942) is an American blues musician, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and film composer. He plays the guitar, piano, banjo, harmonica, and many other instruments, often incorporating elements of world music into his work. Mahal has done much to reshape the definition and scope of blues music over the course of his more than 50-year career by fusing it with nontraditional forms, including sounds from the Caribbean, Africa, India, Hawaii, and the South Pacific.

Personal Life

Mahal's first marriage was to Anna de Leon. He refers to Anna in the song "Texas Woman Blues" with the spoken words "Señorita de Leon, escucha mi canción." That marriage produced one daughter, the novelist and teacher Aya de Leon. Taj Mahal married Inshirah Geter on January 23, 1976 and together they have six children. His daughter Deva Mahal appeared on one episode of Dating Around.

Early Life

Mahal was born Henry Saint Clair Fredericks, Jr. on May 17, 1942, in Harlem, Manhattan, New York City, New York. Growing up in Springfield, Massachusetts, he was raised in a musical environment: his mother was a member of a local gospel choir and his father, Henry Saint Clair Fredericks Sr., was an Afro-Caribbean jazz arranger and piano player. His family owned a shortwave radio which received music broadcasts from around the world, exposing him at an early age to world music. Early in childhood he recognized the stark differences between the popular music of his day and the music that was played in his home. He also became interested in jazz, enjoying the works of musicians such as Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk and Milt Jackson. His parents came of age during the Harlem Renaissance, instilling in their son a sense of pride in his Caribbean and African ancestry through their stories.Because his father was a musician, his home frequently hosted other musicians from the Caribbean, Africa, and the US. His father was called "The Genius" by Ella Fitzgerald before starting his family. Early on, Henry Jr. developed an interest in African music, which he studied assiduously as a young man. His parents encouraged him to pursue music, starting him out with classical piano lessons. He also studied the clarinet, trombone and harmonica.When Henry Jr. was eleven years old, his father was killed in an accident at his construction company, crushed by a tractor when it flipped over. It was an extremely traumatic experience for the boy. Mahal's mother later remarried. His stepfather owned a guitar which Henry Jr. began using at age 13 or 14, receiving his first lessons from a new neighbor from North Carolina of his own age who played acoustic blues guitar. His name was Lynwood Perry, the nephew of the famous bluesman Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup. In high school Henry Jr. sang in a doo-wop group.For some time he thought of pursuing farming over music. His passion began on a dairy farm in Palmer, Massachusetts, not far from Springfield, at age 16. By 19, he had become farm foreman. "I milked anywhere between thirty-five and seventy cows a day. I clipped udders. I grew corn. I grew Tennessee redtop clover. Alfalfa." Mahal believes in growing one's own food, saying, "You have a whole generation of kids who think everything comes out of a box and a can, and they don't know you can grow most of your food." Because of his personal support of the family farm, Mahal regularly performs at Farm Aid concerts.Henry chose his stage name, Taj Mahal, from dreams he had about Mahatma Gandhi, India, and social tolerance. He started using the stage name in 1959 or 1961—around the same time he began attending the University of Massachusetts. Despite having attended a vocational agriculture school, becoming a member of the National FFA Organization, and majoring in animal husbandry and minoring in veterinary science and agronomy, Mahal decided to pursue music instead of farming. In college he led a rhythm and blues band called Taj Mahal & The Elektras. Before heading for the U.S. West Coast, he was also part of a duo with Jessie Lee Kincaid.

Movies & TV shows

2020.

1 Movie
Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band

2020
The creation of one of the most enduring groups in the history of popular music, The Band, is a tale of a young man's life that is sometimes funny and sometimes cautionary.

2019.

1 Movie
ReMastered: Devil at the Crossroads

ReMastered: Devil at the Crossroads

2019
Robert Johnson was an influential blues guitarist. Fans wondered if he'd made a deal with the Devil.

2017.

1 Movie
Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World

2017
A documentary about the role of Native Americans in popular music history, a little-known story built around the incredible lives and careers of the some of the greatest music legends.

2016.

2 Movies · 1 TV show
Shake 'Em On Down

Shake 'Em On Down

2016
Shake ‘Em On Down is a one-hour documentary film which aims to tell the story of Fred McDowell, who was first recorded by Alan Lomax in 1959, traveled to Europe with the Rolling Stones in the mid-1960...
TV
David Holt's State of Music

David Holt's State of Music

2016
David Holt plays tunes and talks with modern masters of traditional music in Appalachia, showcasing not just the music, but also the countryside that gave it life. The program puts the featured perfor...
The American Epic Sessions

The American Epic Sessions

2016
Jack White and T Bone Burnett invite today’s greatest artists to test their skills against the long-lost machine that recorded their musical idols and forebears. The producers have, over a decade rebu...

2014.

3 Movies
ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2014

ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2014

2014
Austin City Limits (ACL) heads to Nashville for a special broadcast featuring performance highlights from this year’s Americana Honors & Awards. ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2014 premieres t...
This Ain't No Mouse Music!

This Ain't No Mouse Music!

2014
Loving, music-filled tribute to Chris Strachwitz, guiding force behind legendary roots music label Arhoolie Records. With Ry Cooder, Clifton Chenier, Richard Thompson, Flaco Jiménez and a new generati...
All My Friends - Celebrating the Songs & Voice of Gregg Allman

All My Friends - Celebrating the Songs & Voice of Gregg Allman

2014
All My Friends: Celebrating the Songs & Voice of Gregg Allman captures a once-in-a-lifetime performance, honoring one of the most acclaimed and beloved icons in rock and roll history. A founding m...

2009.

1 TV show
TV
The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien

The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien

7.75
2009
The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien is an American late-night talk show that featured Conan O'Brien as host from June 1, 2009 to January 22, 2010 as part of NBC's long-running Tonight Show franchise. ...

2006.

1 Movie
Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Multimedia Life

Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Multimedia Life

2006
Buffy Sainte-Marie is best known for her protest songs (Universal Soldier) and her love songs (Up Where We Belong). This one-hour documentary chronicles her remarkable career as she rises to prominenc...

2004.

1 Movie
Killer Diller

Killer Diller

2004
A guitar playing car thief meets an autistic savant piano player, and together they transform a group of reluctant halfway house convicts into The Killer Diller Blues Band.

2003.

1 TV show
TV
The Blues

The Blues

2003
The Blues is a 2003 documentary film series produced by Martin Scorsese, dedicated to the history of blues music. In each of the seven episodes, a different director explores a stage in the developmen...

2001.

1 Movie
Songcatcher

Songcatcher

2001
After being denied a promotion at the university where she teaches, Doctor Penleric, a brilliant musicologist, impulsively visits her sister, who runs a struggling rural school. There is a treasure tr...

1998.

3 Movies
Outside Ozona

Outside Ozona

1998
A drama revolving around a group of strangers brought together by a common occurrence as well as listening to the same radio station.
Scrapple

Scrapple

1998
Small-time drug dealer Al Dean is out for the ultimate score. But when Al and his friends adopt a pig, their laid-back summer plans get baked. Set in the '70s, Scrapple is a Colorado ski-town story of...
Six Days Seven Nights

Six Days Seven Nights

1998
Quinn, a grouchy pilot living the good life in the South Pacific, agrees to transfer a savvy fashion editor, Robin, to Tahiti, but he ends up stranded on a deserted island with her after their plane c...

1997.

1 Movie
Blue Note - A Story of Modern Jazz

Blue Note - A Story of Modern Jazz

1997
"It must schwing!" was the motto of Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, two German Jewish immigrants who in 1939 set up Blue Note Records, the jazz label that was home to such greats as Miles Davis, John C...

1996.

2 Movies · 1 TV show
TV
Arthur

Arthur

6.8
1996
Arthur Read and his friends and family are the focus of the show.
The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus

The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus

1996
A 1968 event put together by The Rolling Stones. The film is comprised of two concerts on a circus stage and included such acts as The Who, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, and Jethro Tull. John Lennon ...
Once Upon a Time... When We Were Colored

Once Upon a Time... When We Were Colored

1996
The film relates the story of a tightly connected Afro-American community informally called Colored Town where the inhabitants live and depend on each other in a world where racist oppression is every...

1994.

1 TV show
TV
Duckman

Duckman

6
1994
Duckman: Private Dick/ Family Man is an American animated sitcom that aired from 1994 to 1997. The sitcom is based on a Dark Horse comic. The series was produced by Reno & Osborn for Paramount Network...

1992.

1 Movie
Zebrahead

Zebrahead

1992
There is a love story in Detroit.

1991.

1 Movie
Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey

Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey

4.95
1991
slackers Bill and Ted are once again involved in a fanciful adventure when De Nomolos sends an evil robot duplicate of them to replace them The robot doubles are able to kill Bill and Ted, but the two...

1977.

1 Movie

1976.

1 Movie
Sounder, Part 2

Sounder, Part 2

1976
Poor black sharecroppers band together to build a school for their children.

1975.

1 Movie · 2 TV shows
TV
Austin City Limits

Austin City Limits

1975
The event has popular music legends and innovative musicians.
TV
Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live

6.36
1975
A late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show created by Lorne Michaels. The show's comedy sketches, which parody contemporary culture and politics, are performed by a large and varying ...
Fighting for Our Lives

Fighting for Our Lives

1975
An Oscar nominated portrayal of the UFW's 1973 strike where grape workers made history by walking off the job from Coachella to Fresno to fight for a UFW contract. A moving testimony to the bravery of...

1972.

1 Movie
Sounder

Sounder

1972
The Morgans, a loving and strong family of Black sharecroppers in Louisiana in 1933, face a serious family crisis when the husband and father, Nathan Lee Morgan, is convicted of a crime and sent to a ...

1970.

1 TV show
TV
The Flip Wilson Show

The Flip Wilson Show

4
1970
The Flip Wilson Show is a variety show that aired in the U.S. NBC aired from September 17, 1970 to June 27, 1974. One of the first American television programs starring a black person in the title rol...
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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Taj_Mahal_(musician)", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.
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