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"Playing with Paul Simon saved my life!" Bakithi Kumalo


Bakithi Kumalo is the South African musician who shot to fame as the bass player on Paul Simon's Grammy award winning album Graceland. This album was part of the soundtrack of my childhood and it was a thrill to chat to him about all sorts of topics.


As well as performing with the likes of Sting, Gloria Estefan and the Grateful Dead, we also talk about Bakithi's impoverished childhood, and how music was his passport to a better life. We also talk about his relationship with Paul Simon, and, of course, that solo in You Can Call Me Al.


As well as playing the bass guitar, in recent years he's also taken to playing the U-Bass (electric bass ukulele) and is even working on his own signature model.


Bakithi is a hero of mine, and after this conversation I'd like to think of him as a friend too. He's also the first ever Grammy Award Winner we've had on the show, as far as I'm aware!


It was an absolute thrill to have him on the podcast and I think you're going to love listening to this episode.



Bakithi Kumalo holding a U-Bass, and John Atkins aka The Ukulele Teacher
Bakithi Kumalo and John Atkins

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