As the world continues to recover from the Coronavirus, we're all finding ourselves in unfamiliar territory given the subsequent lockdown that is keeping us off of stages and confined to our homes. Luckily, there's comfort in the fact that we're all in this together, and that there are still many outlets for us musicians to keep us active and sane throughout this quarantine. We're checking in with bass players from all over the world to see what they're doing to stay entertained, healthy, productive, and safe during this trying time.
Bass Player: Bakithi Kumalo
Bands & Artists: Paul Simon, Herbie Hancock, Mickey Hart, Randy Brecker
Home: Bethlehem, PA
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
I’ve been resting, doing some house projects and cleaning, and talking to my family about the lockdown.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
I've been working on music for my Music Masters Mentorship program through Lehigh University, which includes 20 young musicians from different area schools here in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Our concert was supposed to be this coming weekend, but with it cancelled by the virus I’m now practicing with the students online, via Zoom. I also have some Skype bass students.
What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?
Because I'm working on music for my upcoming record, I’m not listening to much other music or bassists—so that I’m in a good space to create bass lines for the songs and find the most suitable basses, tone-wise. Of course, my mentorship students are always sending me songs they want to play so that I can help them navigate their parts and the chord changes.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
I’ve been working my way through my bass rotation, which includes my NS Design electric upright bass, my fretless Washburn, 4-strings from Xotic and Fender, 5-strings by Brubaker and VibraWood, and 6-strings from Elrick and Kiesel—all with LaBella strings, through Phil Jones amps, using Cordial cables.
What non-music activities books, shows, movies, or workout recommendations do you have?
I like to watch sports, especially boxing and UFC fights. I’m not a big movie person. And I like going to the park to walk so that I can get my head clear for my music.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
My main two are my upcoming record and my Music Masters Mentorship projects. Being able to teach young musicians about responsibilty and dedication both in music and in life is very rewarding, and it will lead to a better generation of artists and human beings.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
Let’s all try to stay healthy and positive. Wash your hands and keep them away from your face, spend time with your family, play your instruments, and if you’re around children teach them the joy of music. Stay safe everyone!