Bakithi Kumalo is a South African bassist, composer and vocalist who has worked with a wide variety of diverse artists including Gloria Estefan, Herbie Hancock, Chaka Khan, Harry Belafonte, Cyndi Lauper and Paul Simon. 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”.
He was born in the Soweto township of Johannesburg surrounded by relatives who loved music and actively performed, and got his first job at the age of 7 filling in for his uncle’s bass player. During the summer of 2006 and again in 2011, he played with Paul Simon on tour.
It was during this tour, that Bakithi was preparing to play the song “Manu” on the Liberian album. He went into a studio in New York, right after the tour and laid down these parts and truly made the song!
Step on the Bass Line 1996
San Bonan 1998
In Front of My Eyes 2000
This Is Me 2005