Louis Moholo

Louis Tebogo Moholo (born 10 March 1940), is a South African jazz drummer. He has been a member of several notable bands, including The Blue Notes, the Brotherhood of Breath and Assagai.

Louis Moholo
Background information
Birth nameLouis Tebogo Moholo
Born (1940-03-10) 10 March 1940
OriginCape Town, South Africa
Associated actsDerek Bailey, Alexander Hawkins, Steve Lacy, Evan Parker, Enrico Rava, Roswell Rudd, Irène Schweizer, Cecil Taylor


Born in Cape Town, Moholo formed The Blue Notes with Chris McGregor, Johnny Dyani, Nikele Moyake, Mongezi Feza and Dudu Pukwana,[1] and emigrated to Europe with them in 1964, eventually settling in London, where he formed part of a South African exile community that made an important contribution to British jazz. He was a member of the Brotherhood of Breath, a big band comprising several South African exiles and leading musicians of the British free jazz scene in the 1970s and is the founder of Viva la Black and The Dedication Orchestra. His first album under his own name, Spirits Rejoice on Ogun Records, is considered a classic example of the combination of British and South African players. In the early 1970s, Moholo was also a member of the afro-rock band Assagai.

He has played with many musicians, including Derek Bailey, Steve Lacy, Evan Parker, Enrico Rava, Roswell Rudd, Irène Schweizer, Cecil Taylor, John Tchicai, Archie Shepp, Peter Brötzmann, Mike Osborne, Keith Tippett, Elton Dean and Harry Miller.

Moholo returned to South Africa in September 2005, performing with George Lewis at the UNYAZI Festival of Electronic Music in Johannesburg. He now goes under the name Louis Moholo-Moholo because the name is more ethnically authentic. South African promoter Slow Life in March 2017 at the Olympia Bakery in Kalk Bay, Cape Town produced a show where Louis performed along with Mark Fransman, Reza Khota, Keenan Ahrends and Brydon Bolton.


As leader

  • Louis Moholo with Keith Tippett/Mervyn Africa/Pule Pheto, Mpumi: Duos. Ogun 014
  • Louis Moholo's Bra Louis-Bra-Tebs & Octet, Bra-Louis-Bra Tebs/Spirits Rejoice. Ogun 017/018
  • Louis Moholo's Viva-la-Black, Freedom tour: Live In South Afrika 1993. Ogun 006
  • Louis Moholo's Viva-la-Black, Exile. Ogun 003
  • Louis Moholo-Moholo Unit, An Open Letter to My Wife Mpumi. Ogun 031
  • Louis Moholo-Moholo with Marilyn Crispell, Sibanye (We Are One). Intakt 145

As sideman

  • Chris McGregor Septet, Up to Earth, 1969, Fledg'ling 3069


  • Philippe Carles, André Clergeat, and Jean-Louis Comolli, Dictionnaire du Jazz, Paris, 1994.
  • When free jazz means freedom by Gary May, originally published in French in 2005 in the magazine ImproJazz. This site also includes a 2010 interview with Moholo-Moholo by Olivier Ledure, also originally published in ImproJazz.
  • FMP releases
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