SA Bassplayers Collective

In Memory of Gito Baloi


Gito Baloi was tragically gunned down early Sunday morning, April 4th.

He was returning to his Kensington home after a spellbinding performance at the Lucit Candle Garden in Pretoria when the tragedy happened.

Gito's tragic and untimely passing robs the music world of a gifted and talented composer and musician.

Hamba kahle, Gito

Click here to view the Gito photo gallery


  Farewell Gito.

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, great grandchildren.

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 absence.

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.

Victor Masondo
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 friend.

Kerry Hiles
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.

Brendan Harvey
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 mine...

Mark Wood
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 groove.
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.

Cobus Keyser
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!

Wan Salleh
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.

Martin Simpson
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

Julian Fairall
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!

Marq Vas

Kitty Schneider

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 towards them.
Even as a stranger, if there is any help I can be, please contact me.
In sadness,

Danie Burger

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.

Carlo Mombelli

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.

Colin Moorkey

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!

Algernon Loxton

To die early like Jimi, Stevie, Jaco and countless others . May God bless him and his family

Trevor Muller

Gito, I was sold on your band when you played at the Bassline for the launch 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.

Silver Snook

An inspiration. Thanks Gito

Nippy Cripwell

I knew Gito only by reputation and by his wonderfully lyrical musical voice.
His passing is our loss but his music is ours forever.

Donne' Dowlman

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.

Herbie Tsoaeli

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

Barry Steenkamp

I never knew Gito although I did meet him once. His playing and singing with
Tananas was so inspirational. I think his life and his music will be an inspiration
to others, not just musicians.

Bongani Sokhela

Goodbye Gito. Your bass playing has been my inspiration.
Thank you for sharing this gift of song. You will be missed so dearly.

Brian Lawrence

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.

Anthony Koopman

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

Gerrie Lubbe

Gito Baloi's passing on leaves behind a void in music and song, irrespective of being known or not known.....

Quinn Hawley

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.

Andrew Burden

As a journalist and presenter I read horrific stories every day - but some stories stick more than others and Gito's murder certainly hit hard.
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 music scene.
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!

Spearman Toast

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.

Daniel van Niekerk and Musicfest SA Cape Town:-

We salute a player amongst 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 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 him.
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 them.

Kerry Blewett

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.

Johann Kruger

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 Collective meetings.

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.

Mlungisi Gegana

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.

Mervin Naidoo

Thank you 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.

Andrew McGibbon

I was 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.

Theo Klassen

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 daughters

Adrian Lay

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.

Vernon Hodgetts

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.
God bless

Barry Irwin.

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.