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DEATH OF GITO BALOI (article first published : 2004-04-6)

Well-known South African musician Gito Baloi tragically passed away early on April 4 after he was shot in central Johannesburg on his way back from his last performance at the Lucit Candle Garden in Pretoria.

A prolific composer, Gito (40) leaves behind his wife Erika and two daughters Lorha and Tiva. His tragic and untimely passing robs the music world of a gifted and talented composer and musician.

Gito Baloi always maintained that he had played and sung music for as long as he can remember.

Surrounded by the traditional music of his extended family - Nyanja as well as Shangaan - he spent his earliest years exploring sounds with the aid of discarded paraffin tins, reeds and anything he could lay his hands on. His first public performances, playing a borrowed bass guitar at 14 years of age, helped to support his family in a war-torn Mozambique.

Gito was inspired by Mozambican musicians like Hortensia Langa, Fani Mfumo and Orchestra Marabenta, and he travelled with a band called "Afro 78" from Maputo to Nampula, Ilha de Mozambique, Beira and Angoche all before he'd reached the age of 15.

Gito Baloi formed the group Pongolo, which produced two albums and traveled throughout South Africa, performing in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town.

He appeared with Mzwakhe Mbuli during his resistance concerts which toured many outlying townships and ghettos. This led to the recording of two albums: Change is Pain in 1986 and Unbroken Spirit in 1989. In 1987 Gito performed with Kenyan musician Simba Morri and this also led to the recording of an album, Was sa Mata.

During 1988 Gito Baloi, Steve Newman and Ian Herman formed a collaboration, which they named Tananas. From 1988 until the band dissolved in 1994, they travelled nationally and inter-nationally, performing in Namibia, Swaziland, Mozambique, France, Sweden, Japan, UK, USA, Singapore, Spain, Australia and China. Tananas produced seven albums: Tananas, Spiral, Time, Orchestra Mundo, Seed, Alive in Joburg, and Tananas The Collection. They were the supporting band for Sting during his national tour of South Africa in 1994.

Further details from Lyn Hibbert on 082 880 9428.




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