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Pops Mohamed

South Africa

Legendary Afro-Jazz musician, and preserver of indigenous music and knowledge


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 instruments; 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 Mohamed
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