Bakithi Kumalo

Soweto, South Africa

Biography

Grammy Award-winning bassist Bakithi Kumalo’s musical career has been characterized by a series of serendipitous events, ranging from his debut gig as a precocious seven-year-old filling in for the bassist in his uncle’s band to his enlistment into Paul Simon’s group during the recording sessions of the pop star’s landmark Graceland album in 1985.

Kumalo creates a singular electric fretless bass sound teeming with double stops that sound like human voices and the African grooves of his homeland, which has garnered him a stellar reputation as a sideman. In addition to touring with Simon, he’s also recorded and/or toured with Gloria Estefan, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, Chico Ceasar, Laurie Anderson, Gerald Albright, Miriam Makeba, Randy Brecker, Grover Washington Jr., Bob James, Angelique Kidjo, Jon Secada, Josh Groban and Chris Botti.

Kumalo has also been active as a solo artist, with five albums to his credit — 1998’s San’ Bonan, 2000’s In Front of My Eyes, 2008’s Transmigration, 2011’s Change, and 2016’s After All These Years.

Hometown

Soweto, South Africa

Follow Bakithi Kumalo

Want to see behind the scenes of PFC?
Become a Member