Louis Moholo-Moholo Profiled

Louis Moholo

Source: Chicago Reader.

Some days, Louis Moholo-Moholo must feel like the last man standing. Every single one of the 77-year-old drummer’s original compatriots has died—the same musicians with whom he cut his teeth in South Africa, fighting against the oppressive weight of apartheid. Many of them, Moholo-Moholo included, emigrated to Europe in the mid-60s—just as free jazz and improvised music reached escape velocity—and eventually established a new home in London. Some colleagues, such as saxophonists Nik Moyake and Kippie Moeketsi and trumpeter Mongezi Feza, died long ago; a rash of deaths beginning in the 1980s took the rest, including pianist Chris McGregor, bassists Harry Miller and Johnny Dyani, and alto saxophonist Dudu Pukwana, who succumbed to liver disease in 1990. The fact that none of Moholo-Moholo’s colleagues lived to 60 is no coincidence—life as a creative musician in South Africa was hard on a body.