Moses Taiwa Molelekwa

Moses Taiwa Molelekwa  1973 - 2001

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Anointed by the random hand of talent, Moses Taiwa Molelekwa was born and raised in Thembisa, 40 miles from Johannesburg, where the youngster was swaddled in a jazz blanket, raised to the sounds of Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis and John Coltrane. His grandfather Bo was a pianist and his father was nicknamed 'Monk', "as he was the first guy in the local jazz society to understand Thelonius. 'Monk' was determined that his son would become a musician but as he couldn't afford a piano, he bought the boy a guitar and packed him off on Saturday mornings to study at the Federated Union of Black Arts Academy in Johannesburg.


  1. Darkness Pass
  2. Finding One's Self
  3. Genes and Spirits
  4. Live at the Fin De Siecle
  5. Wa Mpona
  6. LIVE @ Nantes France DVD extensive footage with interviews and music video
  7. Live in Jo'burg


"I was beginning to get into trouble, but I wasn't that bad", he said of his early teens. alt"There were no recreational facilities for young people in the township... no role models; the crime rate keeps rising and when people earn money they become victims and have to leave." Rescued by his passion for piano playing, Moses declared, "There is no question that music saved my life". This love of music was fortunately nurtured by his father, a big jazz fan and when he finally acquired a Casio keyboard it became obvious that this was not a passing fad, but a natural talent that needed to be explored. On the recommendation of Director Sipho Sepamla, he went full-time to FUBA (Federal Union of Black Arts), where his teacher, Mandla Cebekulu, was an important influence. Perhaps more important though was the shared record collection of his father's jazz society associates. When he graduated with a diploma in piano studies, he became the first recipient of FUBA's prestigious Best Student award in 1987 and by that time had made his professional debut at Jo'burg's Jameson's club with Kelly Petlane and Glen Mafoko,alt as well as having performed at premier jazz club, Kippie's. Moses' growing reputation brought him work with South African greats such as Miriam Makeba, Jonas Gwangwa and Thembi Mtshali and the two bands of which he was a founding member - Brotherhood and Umbongo - took it in turns to win the Best Jazz Group category in the 1991/92 Gilbeys Music of Africa Competition. The theatre has long provided an outlet for musical expression in South Africa and Moses acted as Musical Director of several productions, including a musical entitled 'SA Love/Uthando', directing musicians including Barney Rachabane, Sophie Mgcina and Jennifer Ferguson. Approached by Hugh Masekala at the tender age of eighteen, his immense potential as an artist became clear. However Moses was not over-awed by such an invitation partly because he was barely familiar with the great South African trumpeter's music, as it had been banned in his homeland during apartheid. "I didn't even think, 'this is Masekela!' I just went for it." He got the gig playing keyboards - not just acoustic piano - in the Masekela band and worked with them for over a year. Since then, he's toured the US with stars such as Dorothy Masuka and Julian Bahula, and last year visited London to play with classical virtuoso pianist Joanna MacGregor (June 2000).

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