Hometown: South Africa/New York
Web site: http://www.bakithikumalo.com
View World Music Days Events for this Artist
Bakithi Kumalo – Overcoming Aprtheid to Conquer the World
Originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, Bakithi Kumalo is a Grammy Award-winning bassist, composer, and vocalist who has collaborated with Paul Simon, Laurie Anderson, Cyndi Lauper, Herbie Hancock, Hugh Masekela, Josh Groban, Bob James, Randy Brecker, Chaka Khan, and many others. Thought of by many as one of the most talented living bassists, Kumalo possesses a unique musical style reflecting influences from around the world, including South African traditional folk, contemporary jazz, salsa, and electronica.
The noted South African multi-instrumentalist first came to the attention of the American public in 1986, following the release of Paul Simon's epochal "Graceland" album, where his precise and sinuous bass lines thundered out a death-knell for apartheid and made critics around the world sit up and take notice.
Bakithi grew up in Johannesburg's notorious yet celebrated Soweto township. He began filling in for his uncle's bass player as a small child, embarking on an 18 month tour of Zululand at age 10. Upon his return to Soweto, the young prodigy began to accumulate studio gigs but record companies were exploitative and money was tight. Despite these obstacles, Bakithi had achieved a major rep by 1985, when Paul Simon came calling. It was decided that "Graceland" should be completed in New York and today, Bakithi lives in the USA and maintains a busy schedule. Aside from his ongoing relationship with Simon, he has recorded and/or toured with Gloria Estefan, Herbie Hancock, Ruben Rada, Harry Belefonte, Paul Winters, Miriam Makeba, Eileen Ivers, Grover Washington Jr., Vieux Diop, Laurie Anderson, Angelique Kidjo, Jon Secada, Hugh Masekela, Chaka Khan, Samite, Mickey Hart, and Brazil's Chico Caesar.
Bakithi finds it ironic that "world music", a term originally meant to convey an entire planet of musical possibilities, has become fraught with P.C. baggage and outwardly imposed limitations. This ardent apostle of inclusion loves to perform for live audiences and is delighted by the generous turnouts for his shows." I try to be different every time," he says, "I never play the same thing I played yesterday."
Music, Video, Image and Lyric Samples: