Goings On
Sipho Kunene was born in Cape Town, South Africa and now calls New York City home. He has lent his skills to a diverse assortment of musical situations over the course of his career.

Currently Sipho is the drummer for the musical production "3 Mo' Divas". The show has received rave reviews from the LA Times, Washington Post, Variety and hosts of other news organizations. The show has toured extensively throughout the USA and Canada. PBS Television recorded a one hour special of the show which aired in all USA markets. A live concert DVD and a CD were also released.

For one and a half years Sipho performed with the great South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (formerly known as Dollar Brand) as a part of the Abdullah Ibrahim Trio. They performed both nationally and internationally at various jazz clubs, concerts and jazz festivals including the "Jazz Across the Border" festival in Berlin, Germany where a live CD was recorded for the Enja Record label, and the "Boite Festival" in Melbourne, Australia, broadcast live nationally on ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company) radio. On occasion the trio's performance was embellished with orchestra to perform Ibrahim's "African Suite". "African Suite" performances included accompaniment from the Orchestra National de Lyon in France and the Verdi Chamber Orchestra in Milan, Italy among others.

He was also drummer for "Three Mo' Tenors" for a two year block, the runaway hit that highlights the multi-faceted talent of the African-American operatic tenor voice. The show covers the gamut from Jazz, Broadway and Rhythm & Blues to Opera, Classical, Gospel and Spirituals. "Three Mo' Tenors in Concert" was taped for PBS Television's "Great Performances" airing in all US markets. A self-titled CD was recorded on the BMG/RCAVictor record label.

Sipho spent over five years with Harry Belafonte. Touring took the group to Japan, Africa, the Carribean, Canada and about 10 European countries. A live concert video entitled "Global Carnival" was recorded at the "Children on the Front Line Festival" in Harare, Zimbabwe. The group also did many television appearances around the world and in the US including "The Tonight Show". While Sipho was with Belafonte a CD was recorded live in Germany on the EMI Germany record label.

Sipho has also toured extensively with legendary South African trumpeter and pioneer Hugh Masekela. Internationally acclaimed for decades Masekela is known for his mix of jazz, bebop, funk and Afrobeat from New York to Dakar. While with Masekela Sipho performed in many concerts, clubs and jazz festivals both in the USA and abroad. Some of the jazz festivals include "The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival", "The Long Beach Jazz Festival" and "The Bright Moments Jazz Festival" in Massachusetts. Sipho can be heard on the title cut of the Hugh Masekela CD "Uptownship" on RCA Records. He is still called back from time to time for engagements and tours.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the vocal ensemble from the township of Ladysmith in South Africa is best known as an acapella team, (teaming up with Paul Simon for Graceland and more recently heard on those Life Savers commercials). When they added two songs to their live show that utilized instruments other then the human voice a rhythm section was put together that included Sipho on drums. Ladysmith Black Mambazo performed the show acapella and brought in the rhythm section to closeout the performance.

Sipho has also toured with The Harlem Gospel Choir. The group completed a tour of the Blue Note Jazz Clubs in Japan and proceeded on to Malta where they were featured as special guests at The Malta Music Awards (broadcast on MTV Europe). The group was also received extremely well on their 2 1/2 week Italian tour which included television appearances as well as concerts throughout Sicily.

Bio | Playing | Writing | Goings On |theLibrary | Gallery | Email | Home