Industry veteran and stalwart of the South African music scene, Skipper Shabalala has over 20 years experience as a professional musician who has spanned various genres of music. In 1986, he formed the popular group Zasha which produced the hit track Bricka Bhova and performed as the backing group for top acts like Kamazu, Ali Kat, Chicco and Rebecca Malope.
After nine years with the band Skipper joined the late reggae master Lucky Dube’s band in 1995 as the lead guitarist and featured on numerous albums such as Taxman, The way it is’, Soultaker and Respect’. A natural on the stage, through his discipline and hardworking reputation, Skipper assumed the role of the band leader and toured the world with Lucky Dube sharing the stage with musical giants like Michael Jackson, Burning Spear, UB40, Peter Gabriel, Shaggy and Ziggy Marley. He has also worked with talents such as Mr Caiphu, Mama Leta Mbulu, Siphokazi and Eddy Grant.
In 2000, together with the three other talented musicians, Skipper formed an Afro traditional group Khumbula with Skipper as lead guitarist, lead vocalist and band leader. Khumbula burst onto the South African music scene with their debut album Bayakhuluma and immediately established themselves as major players on the local airwaves. To prove they were no one-album-wonder, they followed this up a year later with their powerful second album Khetha (Choose).
The multi-talented musician’s popular Afro-beat style is a unique combination of traditional Maskanda guitar rhythms in conjunction with astounding vocal interplay, all with an exotic, delicate North African ingredient. The music shows deep respect to the traditions that Skipper grew up with, while their vocal arrangements and other eclectic touches keep the music fresh and relevant to the new generation of fans of contemporary local music.
Now, Skipper’s releases his very first long awaited solo album, Bekezela (Persevere). He explains, “The fusion of different music elements with my Zulu traditional way of singing resulting in a fresh sound. Each song brings its own meaning to the album.”
The album combines top- notch song writing melded with a unique but smooth and highly listenable style of African music. Anyone into contemporary music, traditional fusion/jazz, Afro – fusion and of course Maskandi music will jus have to add this sublime album to their collection.