Bakithi Kumalo


Oral History Information

Interview Date
Job Title
Musician, Bassist

Bakithi Kumalo grew up in South Africa where he began playing the saxophone.  He later switched to the bass guitar and worked hard to perfect his style so that he could performe live and in area recording studios.  He often waited outside the studios for the chance to fill in if a musician did not show up.  In 1986 when Paul Simon was looking for African musicians to work on his Graceland album, Bakithi was recommended by several studio engineers.  Bakithi played a bass riff that is well known today on the first hit single from the landmark album, “You Can Call Me Al.”  In recent years Bakithi has been active in encouraging young people to play a musical instrument and to stick with their dreams as he did.