About the Musicians

By on Sep 21, 2016 in Graz Roots |

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IMG_8434BILLY MONAMA began his journey with the Guitar in his hometown of Mokopane, Mahwelereng in the Northern Province of South Africa. The childhood soundtrack that combined Traditional Ethnic sounds, African Gospel & Jazz is what inspired the young man who has now become a force to be reckoned with in the professional music scene.

Monama spent time at the Central Johannesburg College studying music theory, harmony & ensemble work. He also researched & transcribed Guitar Masters such as Wes Montgomery, Tal Farlow, Marks Mankwane, Jimmy Dludlu and many other Musicians.

Billy Monama now leads his own Band that performs his own compositions and arrangement. He has become one of the highly sought after Guitarists, working with Artists that include Themba Mkhize, Abdullah Ibrahim, Andile Yenana, Sibongile Khumalo, Thandiswa Mazwai, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, Mbongeni Ngema, Dorothy Masuku, and many others.

Monama’s music arranging skills have also spilled into the Dance & Movement industry, as he has repeatedly been Musical Director on productions by the internationally acclaimed Vuyani Dance Company.

Billy Monama sees himself as part of the new generation of South African Musicians that want to take music of the African continent to greater heights. www.billymonama.co.za


IMG_8481THEMBA MOKOENA, originally from Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu Natal, is often referred to as an “Institution” of South African Guitar styles. He initially learned from his older brother, Jotang ‘Joko Tea’ Mokoena. Mokoena was also highly inspired by Jazz Giant, Wes Montgomery.

In the 1960s he was part of the generation of Musicians that developed the sound of Marabi & African Jazz. After moving to Johannesburg in 1972 with the Band, ‘Durban Expressions’, he worked with successful bands of the time such as Gibson Kente, Jacob ‘Mpharanyana’ Radebe, The Peddlers and performed a lot at the then famous Soweto Club, The Pelican. He played Guitar on many top recordings under Mavuthela Records, a black subsidiary of Gallo Records that recorded great andd influential Artists like West Nkosi, Makgona Tsohle Band, Mahlathini & Mahotella Queens and many more.

Themba Mokoena is still active today, performing & recording locally and internationally with different projects, mainly with Songstress, Sibongile Khumalo.

, Saxophonist & Flautist, was born and raised in Kwa-Langa Township in the Western Cape. He grew up with the sounds of Xhosa traditional music, the soulful hymns of the Zion Church, the Jive brass sounds and the Chants & Rhythms of traditional healers’ music.

Mrubata studied informally under Kwa-Langa Greats such as Madoda Gxabeka, Winston Mankunku Ngozi , Ezra & Duke Ngcukana and others. He began playing in Cover Bands around Cape Town. In 1987, through the help of Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, Mrubata moved to Johannesburg where he also performed with many top Artists of the time including PJ Powers.

McCoy recorded his debut album, “Firebird”, assisted & produced by the Veteran Recording Producer, Koloi Lebona.

In 1989 he formed ‘Brotherhood’ which featured Guitarist Jimmy Dludlu and later, Pianist Moses Molelekwa. Later McCoy toured extensively with some of South Africa’s great musical exports: Lucky Dube, Hugh Masekela & Stimela.

To date McCoy has released almost 20 recordings as a Band Leader & Collaborator. He has received contless Music Awards and continues to tour the world, working with Musicians from across the globe. https://www.facebook.com/mccoy.mrubata?fref=ts

IMG_8447LWANDA GOGWANA, East London born, in the Eastern Cape, South African. Gogwana, a Jazz Trumpeter and Composer, already has had a number of nominations for the South Africa Music Award.

Lwanda’s Jazz Compositional sounds are very much influenced by his IsiXhosa cultural roots.

Gogwana graduated with a B.Mus degree in Composition & Arranging from the University of Cape Town and furthered his studies in Norway. He also holds an Honours degree in African Musicology.

As a Band Leader, Gogwana has released an album, Lwanda Gogwana Songbook Chapter 1.

Gogwana has & still continues to work with countless established Artists across different musical genre. These include, Jimmy Dludlu, Marcus Wyatt, Judith Sephuma, Morris Goldberg, Buddy Wells, Freshlyground, Tete Mbambisa, Bokani Dyer, Kyle Shepherd, to name just a few.

Gogwana also gets involved with Community Development Projects with the youth and has passion for Jazz Education.


IMG_8450MDUDUZI MTSHALI is a highly acclaimed South African Pianist, Composer, Arranger and Producer from Kwa-Thema, East of Johannesburg.

Mtshali studied & completed his Jazz Performance Diploma at the University of Cape Town. During his studies he was already writing Big Band arrangements and also performed with the UCT Philharmonic Orchestra. Mduduzi continues to study and this time towards a Master’s Degree in Orchestration.

In 2008, for the first time he Produced a recording for Jazz Singer, Mimi Ntenjwa, which went on to win 2 big awards. Since then he has become an in-demand Recording Producer.

It is his work as a Pianist that keeps him constantly on the road & in-demand. His services have been utilised by Artists such as Sibongile Khumalo, Mimi Ntenjwa, Selaelo Selota, Bheki Khoza, Themba Mkhize, McCoy Mrubata and countless others. He has also performed with international Artists who visited South Africa such as Phil Perry and Rahsaan Patterson.

As an Arranger, Composer and Musical Director, Mtshali was involved with music for the Opening & Closing Ceremonies of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations Football Tournament, working with the likes of Oumou Sangare, Lira, Siphokazi, Ringo Madlingozi & Micasa.


IMG_8451 (1)CONCORD NKABINDE received the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Jazz in 2006. He began his pursuit of music as a kid in his hometown of Soweto. Later he completed his Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies at the University of KwaZulu Natal, majoring on the Bass Guitar and went on to work as a full-time music teacher. Working as a live performer led him to working with highly respected Musicians such as Johnny Clegg, Abdullah Ibrahim, Zim Ngqawana, Darius Brubeck, Ray Phiri, Ernie Smith, Andy Narell, Vusi Mahlasela, Magnus Lindgren, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Joyous Celebration & many more. He also leads his own Solo Project & other Collaborative Projects.

Today Nkabinde is a well-travelled and an in-demand Musician as a Bass Guitarist, Musical Director, Composer and Arranger, who runs his own record label, Drocnoc Music, through which he has commercially released 2 CDs & a live DVD which was nominated for a South African Music Award.

Nkabinde is also involved in programmes that empower young Musicians with Industry & Music Business knowledge.

Concord Nkabinde is Vice-Chairman of CASA (Composers Association of South Africa) and for 6 years has served on the Board of POSA (Performers Organization of South Africa). https://www.facebook.com/ConcordNkabindeArtistPage

IMG_8454PAKI KGOSIETSILE PELOEOLE hails from Taung in the North West Province. Paki is one of the most versatile Drummers around. He also skilfully doubles as a Percussionist. At a younger age Paki began his journey with the Drums by playing during Traditional Diviners’ ceremonies. The strong rhythmic force inside led him to exploring other fields of drumming. Soon he became sort-after by semi professional and eventually professional Bands. Unlike many of his peers, he saw this as sign that he needed to go and study music full-time. That search for knowledge & hunger for grown landed him in Durban, where he studied music full-time at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

During his studies in the city of Durban, Paki became a highly in-demand session Drummer, working with local Musicians as well as many Musicians from out of town on tour around KwaZulu Natal. His versatility, overall musicianship and a great ear for music make him the kind of Drummer everyone wants to work with.

Peloeole boasts a long list of Musicians he has worked with on many different performances & recordings. These Artists include, Hugh Masekela, Busi Mhlongo, Salif Keita, Johnny Clegg, Jimmy Dludlu, McCoy Mrubata, Paul Hammer, Andile Yenana, Madala Kunene, Salim Washington, Feya Faku, to name only a few. Working with many different projects he has toured across the African Continent, Europe, Nordic Countries, the Carribeans & the USA.