Pops Mohamed was born
in South Africa, raised in the small town of Benoni on the outskirts
of Johannesburg. Pops was initiated into the worlds of both
traditional music and jazz music, by his visits to Dorkay House, where
from a young age he was exposed to giants like Kippie Moeketsi and
Abdullah Ibrahim. At the age of 14 he formed his first group 'The
Valiants', playing Kwela, Soul, Pop and Latin music. His next band, 'Children's
Society' achieved his first hit in the townships, 'I'm a Married Man'.
He then teamed up with Abdullah Ibrahim's saxophonist, Bazil 'Mannenberg'
Coetzee and Sakhile's bassist, Sipho
Gumede, landing a record contract which resulted in four distinct
albums: 'Black Disco', 'Movement in the City', 'BM Movement' and
'Inner City Funk'.
'Pops is a well
travelled multi instrumentalist, who has taken it upon himself to keep
traditional sounds - from mbqanga to kwela and marabi - alive. He
specialises in indigenous insruments ; the Kora (a harp from West
Africa), the Mbira (a thumb piano from Zimbabwe), the Didgeridoo
(native to the Aboriginal people of Australia) and the Birimbau and
the African Mouth Bow - developed by the South American Indians and
the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert respectively.
His Kalamazoo and
Sophiatown albums, released in 1991 and 1992 were both nominated for
'Best Jazz Album' in South Africa's OKTV Awards. Pops is also a record
producer, who has travelled widely recording ancient music and
producing what is now being labelled as 'World Music'. Pop's produced
Moses Molelekwa's double award winning album 'Finding Ones Self',
which won both the 'Best Contemporary Jazz Album' and 'Best
Traditional Jazz Album' in the 1996 FNB music awards. Recently Pops
toured Switzerland with Andreas Vollenweider's band featuring Max
Lasser and Busi Mhlongo. As a result of his travels, he is constantly
developing new approaches to music and strives to preserve ancient
musical instruments as well as ancient performance techniques.
Pops along with
Kalamazoo partner, Sipho Gumede, were nominated for "Best South
African Traditional Jazz Album" at this year's South African
Music Awards for their album "Kalamazoo 3".
His latest release,
Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow, is a reflection of his philosophy. It
draws on his (& our) past while looking forward to the future, the
music combining the rich cultural traditions of the continent with the
technological breakthroughs of the 21st century.