Legendary bass player Bakithi Kumalo coming to Westminster for Coffey Music clinic

Legendary bass player Bakithi Kumalo coming to Westminster for Coffey Music clinic
World-renowned bass player Bakithi Kumalo, who has toured with Paul Simon for decades, will visit Coffey Music in Westminster on Monday, Oct. 29. (Courtesy photo)

Bakithi Kumalo, a world-renowned bass player who has toured with Paul Simon since “Graceland,” will visit Coffey Music in partnership with Phil Jones Bass Amplification.

The event is free and open to the public starting at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29, at Coffey Music, 31 E. Main St., Westminster. Kumalo will talk about the Phil Jones amplifiers, play a little of his signature electric fretless bass and talk about his life growing up in Soweto in South Africa and moving to America where he has released solo albums, worked with Simon for more than 30 years and become a Grammy Award winner.


“I put a lot of time in for something that I love. I knew it was not going to be easy, but when you stay consistent, you have a chance of making it,” he said. “It’s all about hard work and staying focused on your vision of what you want to do. What do you want to be?”

Of clinics like this one, “My thing is to show up and say thank you to all my fans and my bass family,” he said.

Many may recognize Kumalo’s work in the bass of the song “You Can Call Me Al” from the Paul Simon album “Graceland.”

Kumalo said he gets asked a lot how he did it. “And my answer to them is that, ‘It was my birthday, so I had to play that as my birthday present. To give it to me.’ ”

Bob Coffey, owner of Coffey Music, said not only bass players but “any musician would be motivated by his presentation.”

These kind of events are motivating for the local music community, he said. “It makes you want to go in the practice room and practice and get better.”

Hard work and consistency are central for Kumalo.

“There’s so many things that can confuse you, so you’ve got to focus on what is right and what’s good for you and work on it. My thing is to be consistent really because without being consistent, everything is going to be struggle,” he said.

Now 62, he began playing bass at age 7. He knew his parents were not able to pay for college

“Sometimes it’s not the school that makes you better. It’s you that makes yourself better. School just gives you the tools to succeed, but you have to do more work,” he said.

Today, he is proud to have two daughters in college. He also enjoys educating and sharing his life experiences so they might help another young person in similar circumstances.

To learn more about his story, he recommended the “Graceland” documentary “Under African Skies.” More information about his music is available at

Coffey said they try to have three to four large music clinics throughout the year as a space for the music community to come together.

Coffey Music has been a part of the Westminster music scene and involved in music education since 1984. To keep up with their events, find them on Facebook or at