Versatile bassist, arranger, composer, producer, engineer and educator Talent “Mzukulu” Mbatha will be performing at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) Centre for Jazz and Popular Music on Wedneday 17 July.  Born in Durban but groomed in Nongoma, North of KZN, his music influences include maskandi, mbhaqanga, jazz, pop, contemporary rock, soul and fusion.

His stay in Nongoma exposed him to music from artists such as Mfaz’omnyama, iHhash’elimhlophe, Phuzekhemsisi, Mfiliseni Magubane and Soul Brothers to mention a few.  Mbatha began to play the bass guitar at the tender age of 11 after his talent began to be noticed at festivals and ceremonies. He assembled his first band for a jazz ensemble in 2008 and has performed at festivals such as Hazelmere Dam Jazz Festival, Ugu Jazz Festival, Morelete Park and more international events often backing other artists.

After passing matric, Talent joined music learnership at the Bat Centre which prepared him for an enrolment at UKZN where he obtained a Diploma in Jazz, majoring in Music Performance and Production.  Some of the artists that he has worked with include Grammy Award winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Dr Brian Thusi, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Zakes Bantwini, Mondli Mnchunu, Ntokozo Masinga, Bongi Dube and Mdu Mahlobo.

Talent Mzukulu Mbatha

In 2016 he released his maskandi debut album  “Amathanga Omkakho” (which means “Your Wife’s pumkins” in isiZulu through his independent record label Mzukulutainemt and toured KZN promoting the album. Mbatha is currently putting the final touches to his second album which is jazz inspired showing his versality as an artist.  Joining Talent on his UKZN performance are pianists Shemual Mahabeer and Sanele Phakathi, saxophonist Mxolisi Mdlalose, trumpeter Thabo Sikhakhane, drummer Sbu Zondi, trombonist Kgethi Nkotsi and vocalist Zoe Masuku.

UKZN Centre for Jazz and Popular Music is at Level 2, Sheptstone Building on the Howard College Campus.  Cover charge is R80 for general public, R50 for pensioners and R25 for students. Doors will open at 17h30 and the show will start at 18h00.