Bakithi Kumalo | This Is Me

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United States - NY - New York City

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World: African World: Mbaqanga Moods: Featuring Bass
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This Is Me

by Bakithi Kumalo

South African jazz, funk, soul, rhythms and grooves
Genre: World: African
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Dark Streets of Soweto
4:25 $0.99
2. Talago
3:29 $0.99
3. Pata Pata
5:23 $0.99
4. Sangoma
4:43 $0.99
5. This is Me
6:09 $0.99
6. Water Drum
3:10 $0.99
7. Umamawami
5:24 $0.99
8. Fingers & Strings
4:27 $0.99
9. Jaco
4:09 $0.99
10. Takumba
4:55 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Bakithi Kumalo (Bah-gee-tee Koo-mah-low) first came to the attention of the American public following the release of Paul Simon's Grammy Award winning "Graceland" album in 1986. His precise and sinuous bass lines went far beyond simply marking time and thundered out a countdown for the dismemberment of apartheid.

Thought of by many as one of the most talented living bassists, Bakithi Kumalo possesses a unique musical style reflecting influences from around the world, including South African traditional folk, contemporary jazz, salsa, and electronica.

Bakithi was born Alexandria Township of Johannesburg. He was exposed to local styles such as mbaqanga, mbube, and jive at an early age. He decided to become a musician and at seven he was already performing in his uncle's band. Due to his persistence, he became a regular on the wedding and party circuit around the townships. At ten, he went on a tour into Zululand where he remained for a year and a half. It was at this time that he developed his unique approach to playing.

Fame grew, but his musical career was still a terrible struggle. Bakithi was seriously considering taking a job as a car mechanic at that time Paul Simon came calling in 1985. Simon was in South Africa to put together a band for his "Graceland" album. A well-known Johannesburg producer suggested Bakithi for his unique ability. Simon was entranced by the sound and, after some preliminary sessions in South Africa, he brought Bakithi to New York City to complete the tracks.

Bakithi was both elated and terrified to be in New York City. He had always longed to go to New York, but he barely spoke English and was understandably overwhelmed by this sudden dramatic change in fortune. However, his misgivings did not affect his playing and his indelible contributions to the Grammy award winning "Graceland" album gave him major visibility in the music industry. He found himself in much demand for
recordings and tours with many great artists such as Chaka Khan, Harry
Cyndi Lauper, Herbie Hancock, Mickey Hart, Randy Brecker, Paul Winters, Angelique Kidjo, Laurie Anderson, Jon Secada, and Gloria Estefan among others.

Currently Bakithi lives on Long Island with his wife, award winning storyteller and singer Robbi K. Most recently they've performed at The Berks Jazz Festival, IMAC, The St. Louis Museum of Art, Harmony on the Hudson, and The Children's Theatre Festival of Philadelphia.



to write a review

doc mongoose

loved it, you carry it all so well.............................
So often times the bass is buried beneath the drums and what not.You bring it up where it needs to be.You are one dirty bitchin daddy.And when papa plays the ladies sway.Take it, Take it, Take it Awayyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dr. Hillel N. Goldstein

One of the Greatest Bassists Alive
I'm a professional electric bassist. So I take professionally-informed issue with the reviewer who mistakenly states that the bass is normally buried under the drums etc. No, thank God, this hasn't been true ever since giants like John Entwistle, Paul McCartney, Jack Bruce, Jaco, Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, flea, Larry Graham, et al. brought the bass to the front over the past three decades!

So what? This merely highlights the one-of-a-kind style of grand-master-bassist Kumalo. He is a musical phenomenon because of his brilliant ideas and dazzling playing, not merely because he's up in the mix! Ever since this bass-genius burst onto the US scene in the mid-'80s in Paul Simon's "Graceland," listeners have had yet another "lead bassist" to grace their ears, and perpetually woodshedding bassists like me have had yet another electric-bass virtuoso to take "lessons" from: Yeah, we play CDs like these and try to "cop the licks."

Bakithi Kumalo stands alone because nobody ever did what he did and continues to do. Aside from tastefully showcasing his technical brilliance without overplaying, he digs into the deep traditional wells of his native South Africa and brings centuries of stunning melody and groove into his playing. Until he arrived in the US, nobody in the Western bass community knew anything about his art nor its sources.

Thank God he's here to stay! Yes, now he lives in the US and is a major session-player in addition to solo-artist based in the NYC-area. If I had a minute with him, I'd stutter: "Thank you, sir, for bringing the Soul of South African bass to these shores. You're an inspiration." This album does an excellent job at highlighting Mr. Kumalo's seamless integration of South African traditional music with "Western" (it's all got African roots, y'all) funk, jazz, and rock.

He constitutes another human rung on the electric-bass evolutionary/Jacob's ladder, and bassists like me are eternally grateful for his work, and humbled by his talent. Buy this CD! It gently (but firmly!) grabs you by the ears and takes you to South Africa, to the USA's funk scene, and everywhere in between. Jaco Pastorius is smiling from Heaven, 'eh bassists? And we're smiling right here. Long may Mr. Kumalo reign!