MOSS MOGALE UNIT

JAZZ & INDIGENOUS MUSIC

5 PIECE ENSEMBLE


The group was formed by the renowned Moses in the late 70’s and originates from Mamelodi. The music is mainly a mixture of African music and Jazz; blending and presenting indigenous and jazz music for a total African music experience. This is a musical journey from the northern part of South Africa down to Gauteng, Mamelodi and beyond the shores of South Africa; a perfect blend of jazz and South African traditional music. The roots and influences emanate from the northern province, more precisely from Ga-Modjadji (bolobedu), where Moses was born.

MOSES MOGALE
Moss grew up during the days of Marabia and Kwela music, dominated by the penny whistle wizards of the early 60’s. He was also privileged to have come from a family and an environment that was rich with indigenous multicultural and traditional music. The late Frans Maake, popularly known as “Matascar” inspired Moss, and the late Charlie Thobejane; two of the most accomplished Marabi guitarists and penny whistle musicians of the time. They periodically played together as a duo and trio to entertain at wedding ceremonies. Amongst the people who inspired him are Ernest Mothle, Phillip Tabane, the late Ernest Cole and Geoff Mphakathi, who exposed him to a broader spectrum of other practitioners of the art form, such as Wes Montgomery and Lesley Spann, to mention but a few. These artists proved to be an enormous inspiration to him.

Some musicians and bands he has played with include Four Sounds Plus Three, SABC resident band conducted by Victor Ntoni during the Astera 1 & 2 Awards, Ernest Mothle, the late Kippie Moeketsi, the late Duke Makasi, Barney Rachabane, Stompie Manana, Allan Kwela, Lefifi Tladi and Bheki Mseleku. He took Herb Ellis’ position in the Mamelodi Jazz Festival on 1 Feb ’75, and played alongside Herb’s rhythm section. He attended a Jazz workshop in Maseru subsequent to obtaining a 1st prize in a jazz contest held at USIS Johannesburg. In Maseru he met Monk Montgomery, Freddy Waits, Larry Ridley, Ted Dunbar, Frank Foster and Dizzy Gillespie. Apart from leading his band, he conducts music workshops from time to time around Pretoria.

JESSE MOGALE
The youngest brother of Moses plays guitar and double bass. He started playing bass guitar in 1978. He joined a poetry group called Shikwane with older brother, Humphrey. Amongst the members of the group were Themba Nyathi (poet and actor) and Paul Ndlovu (flautist). After the tragic death of Tholoane Mahlo, the unit’s former bass guitarist, Jesse assumed a full time position as the group’s bassist. He played occasionally with Four Sounds Plus Three which led to TV recordings with the group, and a jam session which included the late Kippie Moeketsi, Duke Makasi, Barney Rachabane and Stompie Manana. He has also played with African Jazz Moods, Zim Nqawana, Nothembi Mkhwebana, Allan Kwela, Vusi Mahlasela, Kgafela oa Kgagodi (poet). He has played with Wessels van Rensburg, Lulu Gontsana and Jabu Magubane in a film shooting for German television. He played in a 1-man musical, No Room for Squares, starring Coco Merckel, which had a successful run at the Market Theatre and Civic theatre, and also took part in the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) in April 2001.

ALBERT BREWIN
Albert, the youngest member of the group, is Moses’ nephew and also comes from a musical family. His uncle, Page Dibakwane, is a flautist. He joined the group in 1994 after receiving training at Mmabana Cultural Centre where he also spent time tutoring drums. Amongst the musicians and groups he has performed with are Allen Kwela, Selaelo Selota, African Jazz Moods, and also Don Laka on a freelance basis.

AFRIKA MKHIZE
Here is a talented and energetic pianist with a passion for music of all forms. His understanding of harmony and overall approach to keyboard playing adds life to any song that he lays his hands on and he compliments everyone in the band very well. A son to one of South Africa’s piano/keyboard virtuoso’s, Themba Mkhize, it is no coincidence that he happens to play keys as his background says it all. He has played with other popular musicians like Miriam Makeba, Marcus Wyatt on his debut CD, Zim Nqawana, Dondo featuring Vusi Khumalo, Khaya Mahlangu, Lawrence Matshiza and Fana Zulu. The best is yet to come from this talented musician.

MBULELO MARWANQANA
Mbulelo started playing music in 1964. He plays flute and percussion. His major musical influence has been Barney Rachabane. He met Moses Mogale and Tshidiso Simelane in 1964 and they have been friends since then. He joined the Moss Mogale Unit in January 1999. He has also played with Zuzuma Jazzmen and Four Forty.