South African musician, music therapist and humanitarian Sharon Katz was born in Nelson Mandela Bay / Port Elizabeth during the Apartheid era and began her anti-Apartheid activism as a teenager. In the decades since, she has used her music for social activism around the world, was recorded by Sting, and received the Phil Ochs “Music for Political and Social Change” award.
After Mandela’s election, Sharon Katz & The Peace Train became the country’s first musical ambassadors of the new democracy. Their USA tours have included performances for The Getty in LA, Disney World, Duke Ellington Center for the Performing Arts, the Smithsonian in DC, the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall in NY, and many universities and festivals.
Sharon performed with the legendary South African singer Miriam Makeba and featured on Sting’s Carnival! album with Elton John, Tina Turner, Annie Lennox, Ruben Blades, and Pavarotti. Grammy award winners Ladysmith Black Mambazo also joined Sharon on The Peace Train. Several of Sharon’s albums have featured on the Grammy ballot for Best World Music including Imbizo, Side-By-Side and We Can Be The Change.
In 2015, the documentary film “When Voices Meet” about Sharon’s music and humanitarian work with The Peace Train project was released. Through archival footage and the 20-year retrospective words of the original choir members, musicians, and other South African personalities, this critically acclaimed documentary went on to receive numerous awards at over 30 film festivals around the world. It has been shown on TV in over 50 countries and is now available on Amazon Prime, YouTube and DVD.
Continuing her reputation of “converting gang members into band members,” Sharon is currently working in the border region between San Diego and Tijuana where she has been forming choirs and teaching guitar to youth in some of the most gang- and drug-infested areas. She’s also been working in shelters for migrant children and families, a safe house for girls rescued from trafficking, and a program for survivors of torture.