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Bakithi Kumalo

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Name  Bakithi Kumalo
Role  Bassist
Spouse  Robbi K (m. 1993)

Bakithi Kumalo Jazz Albums TransmigrationBakithi Kumalo By Brian

Albums  San Bonan, Step on the Bass Line, In Front of My Eyes, This Is Me, No Kelen Kelen, Transmigration, Change
Similar People  Samite, Eileen Ivers, Joanie Madden, Paul Halley, Paul Winter

Bass musician magazine namm 2013 kala presents bakithi kumalo and james hill playing billie jean

Bakithi Kumalo (; born May 10, 1956) is a South African bassist, composer, and vocalist. Kumalo is most known for his fretless bass playing on Paul Simon's 1986 album Graceland, in particular the bass run on "You Can Call Me Al".


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Bass musician magazine namm 2013 kala presents bakithi kumalo and james hill

Biography and career

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Bakithi Kumalo was born in the Soweto township of Johannesburg, surrounded by relatives who loved music and actively performed. He got his first job at the age of seven filling in for his uncle's bass player. Kumalo worked as a session musician in South Africa during the 1970s and early 1980s, eventually becoming a top session bassist and accompanying international performers during their South African tours.

In 1985, Kumalo was introduced to Paul Simon by producer Hendrick Lebone during the sessions for Simon's Graceland album. Kumalo traveled with Simon to New York to finish the sessions, and after the accompanying concert tour, "spent several years commuting between Soweto and New York City" before permanently settling in the United States. Kumalo has toured regularly with Simon since then. He has also released several solo records, and continued to perform as a session musician with artists such as Joan Baez, Cyndi Lauper, Herbie Hancock, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Randy Brecker, Grover Washington Jr., and Mickey Hart.

Playing style

Bakithi Kumalo Paul Simons Graceland Fretless Basslines Lesson by Bakithi Kumalo

Kumalo's playing combines elements of American Motown and jazz styles with traditional South African music. His lines "typically feature inverted broken arpeggios, quick pentatonic lines, and counter melodies," using techniques such as slap bass, dead notes, "octave 'hiccups,' anticipated downbeats, triplets, and double stops." He cites Jaco Pastorius, Alphonso Johnson, and James Jamerson as important early influences.

He purchased his first fretless bass, a Washburn B-40 model, because "it was the cheapest bass in the store . . . nobody wanted to play it." Paul Simon has described Kumalo's sound on this instrument as "enormous . . . almost like a horn, but so primal." As of 2014, he also plays a signature model Kala U-Bass.


Bakithi Kumalo Bakithi Kumalo From Soweto to Graceland YouTube
  • Step on the Bass Line (1996)
  • Sanibonani (1998)
  • Supralingua – Mickey Hart and Planet Drum (1998)
  • In Front of My Eyes (2000)
  • This Is Me (2005)
  • Transmigration (2006)
  • Change (2009)
  • Stranger to Stranger (2016)

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    Bakithi Kumalo Wikipedia

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