It was my first week of high school, new subjects, new friends and new
sport activities, which I for one hated.
My primary school years had me listening to all my dads’ records. The
“classics” from ‘Led Zeppelin’ and the ‘Dixie Dregs’ to ‘Brazil 66’.
At age ten my tastes in music moved towards a more contemporary sound.
Grunge music was here to stay and all the ‘Pearl Jam’s’ and ‘Nirvanas’
got bought on cassette tape. This crazy stage got me listening to
‘Right said Fred’ and ‘Ace of Base’, which I am not so proud of.
I returned home at 2:35 on the Friday after noon still wearing a board
around my neck as part of the high school initiation ritual. I used to
walk home and I will never forget the summer heat as we were forced to
walk with our blazers on. I will also never forget the pure bliss
sensation of a cold chocolate Nesquick as I walked in through the
kitchen door flinging my rucksack through the hall.
Mom was home early with a surprise. A large box which contained my
dream electrical appliance, A Phillips compact disk player. The device
got hooked up to the rest of the HiFi stereo and I sat and stared at
it for most of the afternoon. The CD player came with a special
package of one CD of your choice from a catalogue every month for a
year. The first month had the deal of 3 CD’s to boost the new CD
collection along. As a family of 3 members the choice was easy, we
each got to choose one.
I did not recognize one title in the catalogue. I had a few hours in
which to make my decision. My eye kept falling on this one colorful
picture. It was the CD cover of “TANANAS”. It was the Orchestra Mundo
album. Hearing the Band name from my dad’s musician friends I ordered
it immediately. A week passed and I returned home from school to find
a package waiting for me on my chair. It was my very first Compact
Disk!! Seconds later the disc was carefully whipped out of the
packaging and into the disk player, waiting in excitement to hear the
sound quality difference that created all this hype.
The music at first disappointed me as it was not grunge but the
variety of sounds streaming out of the two speakers kept me listening.
The way this new form of music adjusted my senses and showing me new
forms of expression and emotion.
Months went by and I suddenly got asked to join a band. My first
band!! Conditions were that I was to learn the bass guitar. Word was
out that my dad was a weekend rocker and the house was full of musical
equipment. Two weeks later our new band hit the spotlights as the
opening act for my dads band playing cover songs from “Cream” and
“Oasis”. A bass guitar on my back was identification enough to walk by
any bouncer and organize a beer.
As months or years passed I still found myself listening to the
“TANANAS” album but with more of a bass guitar point of view.
Practicing the complex bass melodies and rhythms.
2002 had come and I was studying music in Johannesburg. I received an
invite to attend a “Bass players” club. A new concept where all bass
players join once a month and exchange information and help develop
the industry. It was here where I met Gito for the first time. He
approached me in the calmest of manner and introduced himself to me. I
was at a loss for words and mumbled something back. The idea that I
was now hanging out with great people who are and have been
professional musicians was quite a ‘trip’. The evening finally came,
the evening where Gito and band were playing live at the “Bassline”
club in Melville. I learnt allot that night about being a musician,
his vocal harmony linked to the melodic playing really touched my
spirit as I am sure it did to many others in the audience.
We met several times after at the bass meetings. Always watching
carefully when he was trying out some one else's bass to see his
method of articulation, asking him once or twice on how he played a
certain ‘lick’. He always seemed to approach things so calmly yet
completely in control. I have poached that way of thinking from him
and find myself a better person today. I know he has touched all of us
in a special kind of way individually and will continue to do so till
one of his songs gets played for the very last time by our great,
I regret not getting my “TANANAS” CD signed by you, my very first CD.
Kai (with Edda, Tau & Vusi)
We’ve just returned from the memorial celebration of the life of Gito
Baloi. It was wonderful to see not only how many lives he has touched
but how many lives he managed to (re)unite, even in his physical
It’s been a real Gito day. After I woke up this morning, I put on and
played along to his ‘Herbs & Roots’, with the title track, ‘Harrow
Road’, ‘Sad Melody’ and what is probably my favourite composition of
his, ‘Verdade’ – a beautiful haunting melody that really strengthens
one in the pursuit of truth (the verdade of the title) and in one’s
commitment to avoid error and falsehood.
I met Gito sometime near the beginning of 1991, when we played in
consecutive acts at the Human Rainbow Concert in Ellis Park, which was
also attended and addressed by Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Tutu. I
was immediately taken in not only by his style of playing (managing to
sound ‘fretless’ on an ordinary fretted bass, by virtue of some
impressive stringbending and strong melodicism) but also by his
humble, quiet dignity.
In all the years I’ve known him, his soft-spoken, quietly interested
demeanour has never changed – and I’ve never ceased to be amazed by
his compelling, self-confident stage presence that seemed almost to
contradict his quiet, perhaps bordering on self-effacing off-stage
persona. ‘Seemed almost’ – but never actually did, of course. Gito
was, every time I saw him perform, never anything less
than generous, in
terms of solo space for his musicians and of giving it all even when
the audience was small.
It is a great and ultimately unfathomable irony that such a gentle
philanthropist (and, in fact, lover of all life – given his ethical
vegetarianism) should have passed on the way he did.
I don’t believe in any afterlife or ancestral spirits or
transmigration of souls, but there is an important sense in which
Gito’s presence remains undiminished: through his daughters, through
his music and through what in German is called vorleben – having lived
his life as an emulatable example for and to others.
I never thought that I would be writing about Gito's passing away.
There are some people you thought would live longer, Gito was one
such a person. I am truly shocked and angry at the same time.
His untimely and cruel death at the hands of public enemies is more
than what I can put to words.
Gito was a even spirited person and never once in all my years of
knowing him have I known any other Gito but the gentle,honest ,true,and
real person. We have suffered a truly great loss. I truly send my
prayers and my deepest sympathy to his wife and daughters, I cannot
begin to imagine what they are going through right now. Though Gito
is no longer with us physically, his life will always remain as an
example of true humility and service to all. Rest in peace my
I met Gito briefly a few years ago when he was recording an album
with a drummer-friend of mine. I was lucky enough to sit in on some
of the sessions and also attend one of the "do's" at Gito and
Erica's house. Although I would never presume to call myself one of
Gito's friends, he definitely made me feel like an equal musician
and always took the time to say hello and ask after my health and
wellbeing whenever our paths crossed. He was a fine musician, bass
player, singer, songwriter - all the things I aspire to be. He was a
wonderful ambassador for South Africa. I remember Gito as warm,
encouraging, genuine, and always in good spirits. I don't think the
man who took his life will ever quite realise who he stole on Sunday
morning. We've lost a great musician and friend, but the world has
lost one of the last true gentlemen, a great soul.
Deepest sympathies to Erica and the girls. My thoughts, prayers and
tears are with you.
I am sure everyone will agree what a loss SA music has suffered
after the untimely death of Gito. I just wanted to pay my respects
and this seemed like a good place to do it. Rest in peace Gito,
thanks for the little pieces of your soul that helped to shape
I never met Gito.
Since a teenager, hearing Gito's playing, he has been an influence
in my picking up the guitar, and the greatest
influence in my starting to play bass. Even as a beginner, my style
attempts to emulate Gito's effortless, expressive
A country is administered by politicians, but a society is defined
by its artists. One of our greatest is now gone, as
is my chance to meet Gito, but in every note I play, a little bit of
him lives on, defining my style and hopefully
affecting others as he affected me.
It is with great sadness that I read an article in this morning's
edition of the Cape Times. The contents of the article ellaborated
on the untimely death of Gito.
I want to extend my sincere condolences to the Baloi family and to
all his close friends. I did not know Gito personally, but I am well
aware of the deep footprints that he left in the music industry.
Our prayers are with you.
Renate Van Zyl
It's so sad that such a brilliant musician had to go that way!
All my condolences to Gito's family and kids. We have lost one of
the most talented musos and a friend.
May god bless him.
There's just so much I want to say but with emotions running at full
force, this is not the time to do so. Instead, I would just like to
endorse what Victor and Kerry have already said. Gito was one of
those guys that you felt very comfortable with all the time, never
had a bad word to say about anyone and his enthusiasm for life -
well I could write a book on
that subject alone!!! We have lost someone extremely dear to us and
our South African Bass Players Collective will never be quite the
same again. I only knew you for a few short years Gito, but I feel
I'm a very lucky person to have had that privilege. My thoughts are
with Erica and the girls.
Rest In Peace brother
I first saw Gito play at the Village Green in 1990 at some music
festival. I'd heard Tananas before, but I'd never experienced such a
powerful music presence as what the had. Gito was a sublime bass
player - best exemplified I believe, by his ability to play and sing
complex melodies simultaneously, and utterly seamlessly. I last saw
Tananas, and Gito, play in 1994, when they deftly opened for Sting
at the Sun City Superbowl, and I have to say that they were the only
choice for the opening slot. The interplay between Gito and drummer
Ian Herman was, and will always be
magical - a once in a lifetimes experience of complete control,
total freedom, and sheer talent.
The world is going to miss this musical giant, but we in South
Africa are going to miss the beautiful man.
God bless you Inkunzimalanga
A musician that always put those in the business before him and
deserved international recognition at the very highest level. A true
gentleman and consummate professional. Fly free my brother fly free!
I didn't know Gito Baloi, but his
music spoke worlds to me.I grew up in Joburg, and I'm a big
defendant of our rough and tough, spirited city, but this killing
strikes something home that just shouts stop! What has it come to
that those exciting streets where we used to 'Jol' at Jamesons(and
feel part of the real people's South Africa saying 'howzit' to each
other never mind the government)is now an indiscriminate murdering
zone? Who is that person who just shoots a man before even saying
'stick-em-up' or giving him a chance to hand over his money. Would
he know if he shot his own brother? I wonder if he knows now who it
was that he killed.It's too cold, and cold likewise seem those dark
streets of Joburg,I do not like it anymore.
My thoughts go out to Gito's family, he sounds like a one in a
million man. God doesn't make them often, an 'all in one' person
with just the right mix. So much more the sad loss for we who aim
Even as a stranger, if there is any help I can be, please contact
Even though I have known his name
for a long time, I only met Gito a few months ago when his band
played at a SABPC meeting at The Bassline. I was completely blown
away - not only by his awesome talent, but also by the
general attitude and humility he displayed. Every time I saw him
after that, the impression I had of him became even more positive. A
few months ago, I reviewed one of his albums - a work of art that
clearly demonstrated his passion for the bass, for music, and for
life. This is now a prized possession.
Gito, you will be severely missed brother - not only as an awesome
bass player and musician, but also as a great human being. May you
be remembered, always.
Gito, it was privilege
knowing you. Thank you for all the love and peace you managed to
give to this world. I will never forget your humility and the
passion which I felt when listening to you play your bass and sing
in your own special way, or the gentleness and happiness that always
radiated from you. You truly are a special spirit and I will miss
you. Rest in peace.
My deepest condolences to Erika and your children.
There are no special words to
replace special people. Gito might be silent
but his melody will continue to sound in our hearts.
To the family - Psalms 23: 1-3 & Psalms 27 : God's comfort on you!
To die early like Jimi, Stevie, Jaco and countless others . May God bless
him and his family
Gito, I was sold on your band when you played at the Bassline for the
of the S.A.B.P.C. website. Your playing with Tananas was also a great part
of your career. We will miss you. Our thoughts are with Erika and your
daughters. Best wishes.
An inspiration. Thanks Gito
I knew Gito only by reputation and by his wonderfully lyrical musical
His passing is our loss but his music is ours forever.
We never had a chance to meet, but
I did get to see you perform at the Bassline with Tananas. You, and your music will always be in our hearts.
To the Baloi family, my deepest sympathies over the tragic loss of Gito.
May you find your peace in the shelter of the Almighty.
It's been a great loss, losing
a bass player of Gito's callibre, a man who would
not evenharm a fly. A musicians musician. Great brother, I was
so saddened when I heard the news but his
music will ever live in our lives. May his soul rest in peace
I never knew Gito although I did meet him once. His playing and
Tananas was so inspirational. I think his life and his music will be
to others, not just musicians.
Goodbye Gito. Your bass playing has been my inspiration.
Thank you for sharing this gift of song. You will be missed
Upon reflecting on the life of
such a talented individual and the way his
life was taken, one could easily go into a state of depression,
thinking of the great loss to society. However we need to reflect on
the good that he has contributed to all of
our lives and ponder on that. We will
definitely find inspiration in the way Gito lived his life and that
may inspire us to stretch our own lives and those closest to us. We
salute you Gito and pray that the wonderful memories you left behind,
may live with us forever and also help us to
deal with the great challenge of missing you....
Pieter le Roux
On the way to our meeting (Guitarplayers) at
RAU I saw some newspaper clips on lamp posts talking about a muso that
was killed. I didn't know Gito so I didn't realize who the newspaper
headlines spoke about until I got to the meeting. I was shocked when I
heard that Gito was an active member at Bassplayers and saddened by
the fact that such great talent should be wasted in this way. I read
the other notes on the webpage and it's obvious that Gito was a
fantastic person who had many, many friends. We've got such a great
country it's just so sad that some demonic inspired elements go around
spoiling it for so many people. I wish to extend my condolences to
Gito's loved ones and family and friends.
Gito is most certainly one of
my inspirations. Listening to him inspires me to practice. The picture
he paints with his solos is so brilliant. I salute you Gito
Gito Baloi's passing on leaves behind a void in music and
song, irrespective of being known or not known.....
To Gito, People live...People die. People laugh... People cry. Some
give up... Some still try. Some say
Hi! While some say bye! Others may forget you but never will I.
As a journalist and presenter I read horrific stories every day - but
some stories stick more than others and Gito's murder certainly hit
I first saw him play with Tananas at the Grahamstown Arts Festival in
1991. It was a cold and wintry night but the atmosphere inside the
venue was alive with pure talent.
All I can remember is being absolutely mesmerised by the way Gito
handled his bass and how well the band meshed.
Thousands of people know Gito Baloi's name but there are thousands who
don't. I think for the most part South Africa has overlooked what an
immense talent has been wasted here.
Stories come and go but melodies and talent remain forever.
Gito Baloi leaves behind a gaping hole on the South African arts and
No amount of wishing will ever fill it
Stanley Clarke, Topanga CA
I wanted to pay my respect to the slain Bassplayer and express my
sorrow to his family!
Although things like this always come to late, I am really impressed
at the way in which Gito's life affected so many people. I, for one,
am encouraged to be better than I can be. Anyone who ever knew Gito
has been left with an immeasurable
(is that a real word) gift.
Bass Guitar Magazine of the UK
would like to send much sympathy to the family and friends of a
clearly loved bass player, Gito Baloi.
van Niekerk and
Musicfest SA Cape
We salute a player amongst players...an artist who understood what so
many still have to learn.
Here's to someone who knew the difference between just hearing the
Bass, and feeling the Bass...few of them
there truly are.
To a slain soldier in the 'elite' army of players both young and old,
amateur and pro...an army of people who KNOW what no other musician
apprently knows ; it's bass or nothing !
I only met Gito
once. He was friendly and seemed to be everything everyone says about
I remember seeing Tananas at The Base in Cape Town in 1990, being
completely blown away
by them and going home to try out some of Gito's bass lines - I
particularly liked his 'marimba' playing on
the bass using harmonics and his 'fretless' playing as Kai mentioned.
I'm sure his playing influenced a lot of people. I know I was one of
I only met Gito sometime in 2002 through the SABPC. During this period
I saw him performing with Tananas and with his own band at the
Bassline. Although greatly impressed by Gito’s musical prowess, I was
particularly touched by the humility and friendliness of the man.
One thing is for sure, Gito made his mark on the world during his
lifetime. The one who robbed Gito of his life is not able to rob the
world of his work. Gito has left a legacy for many to share in the
years to come.
I do not believe in extensive
"last respects", messages etc for a dead
person, be it in writing or in telling. Wherever Gito is now, he
cannot make use of anything we say or do.
However, I do believe in telling a person things while he or she is
still ALIVE. Remorse is not fun. In this
respect, I probably did not fulfil my
promptings, as I did not talk to Gito as much as I would have liked.
With myself as a new (and decidedly
non-famous) member to collective meetings,
Gito was always friendly. He seem to be a quiet & unassuming chap,
which is belied by his impressive CV as we
can see on the website. Would really have
liked to get to know him better, as my familiarity only stretches as
far as a couple of conversations during
I was saddened by the news of his death. I have no idea of the extent
of family he leaves behind, but I do pray
that the one & only Almighty God will give
consolation where required.
Gito I want to thank you for leaving the kind of inspirations and
influences to the music industry.We're all benefitting. May your soul
rest in peace.
Robbie and Sarah (SUNWAYS)
Please accept our sincerest condolences. We're really saddened and
sickened by the news of Gito's senseless death.
Gito, for your music, your passion, your love. They will remain with
us. I was blessed to have met you. Your expression was and is an
inspiration to me. Rest, my Brother.
devastated to hear about Gito's death. I received the news with a
mixture of deep sadness and horror. I did not know Gito very well but
I knew him well enough to realise he
was a gifted musician and more importantly, a truly decent person. I
have never been one to spend any major time on the internet but when I
heard about Gito I took the course of action that I believed to be
most apt - I said a prayer for him and his family.
Gito was a
fellow member of the South African Bass Players Collective. I'll miss
you my brother. Rest In Peace, my thoughts are with Erika and your
Although I never knew you, I
knew of you. I could hear through your bass playing, your spirit of
who you are. I wont forget that.
It came as a massive shock to me when I heard of Gito's death.
Although I had never met him, it felt as if a void was left with his
passing. His reputation as a bass player and as a person preceded him.
Gito was an ambassador not only for South Africa, but for music as
well. He will definitely be missed by all.
It is not
very often that one comes across someone with the kind of heart that
Gito had. Always willing to help even when he wasn't sure how. Much as
Gito was a wonderful musician, I was moved more by the person he was.
Gito made me realise that we are really made in the image of God. It
is up to each one of us to take up the qualities of God that are given
to all of us.
Gito has left us with a challenge and if we claim to truly love and
miss him, our lives will show.
To Erika and the girls, Much love to you & we are here for you.
I didn't know Gito very well,
but first met him at a "drum thing" that used to happen once a week at
a friend, David Gordon's place. Gito and I would alternate. When he
played bass I played drums and vica versa. I would see him at times at
the Bassline club and the last time Steve (Crozet) and I saw him
playing, was at Sandton Square. I think that bass players as a whole
are supportive of each other. Possibily why, is that when you finaly
come around to it, we dont compete with each other, but rather with
the music. That is, at the point of execution. Gito potrayed this
brilliantly. It wasn't about technique, it wasn't about trying to
impress an individual, It was all about serving the music. To put it
simply, Playing for the band. That is a lesson in itself. One worth
acknowledging in a world today where "chops is king". Musicians like
Gito are rare in their humility and compassionate natures. Its part of
the essence of a bass player, and musician, that many should strive
for. Well I'd like to say that he certainly touched my life. My
condolences and sympathy to his wife and family.