The story of Bayete starts years before their first release under that name. In the early 80’s Mbaqanga stars The Soul Brothers were looking for a group to open for them on their upcoming shows. This opportunity led to the formation of a group named “” after member . Soul Brothers bassist would produce and help write their self titled debut album on the label but after more than 2 years together the group would disband following his tragic death in 1984. In the months following the death of Zakes that the remaining members of Jaws would meet Linda Bernard. It would be Linda’s support that led them to sign a one record deal with the label and the record their first album under the new name, Bayete. Unfortunately the debut was a flop. Shortly after recording their first album, the band added Jabu Khanyile (drums), Themba Mkhize (keys) and Fana Zulu (Bass) to their roster. Themba and Fana had come over from . Originating Bayete member Mfaniseni Thusi also had a short stint and started his musical career in Johannesburg by joining Sakhile. After a failed debut, two year absence from the studio, and a roster that consisted of just two original members, Bayete were ready to make another move. Luckily It was at this time that they would meet talent... Read More|
... scout Jerry Mhlanga and sign with the independent Decibel Music, the English division of the parent company De La Music. Going into the studio they had their lead single “Blue Monday” lead single.
Much like the self titled debut, Blue Monday had no real success but it kept the band together and most importantly solidified Jabu as the lead vocalist. After complaints from fans the rest of the band forced him to get up from behind the drums so the crowds could see where his voice was coming from. Continuing to play live shows around Southern Africa it would take Simon Buthelezi accidentally stumbling into one of their shows in Johannesburg for them to sign their first major label deal with EMI. They would record their most successful album to date “ Mbombela“ which had an updated version of their original song “Shosholoza”. This album blended afro sounds, jazz, marabi and kwela. Their intended sound all along. It was still censored at the time of release but the ban was lifted near the end of the decade and even saw the music video for the song being broadcast on state owned stations. From then on the success of Bayete and it’s members was set in motion. While others used the momentum to pursue careers outside of the group and South Africa, Jabu took full control assembling a new group of players and changing Bayete to his backing band. The newly formed Jabu Khanyile & Bayete gained him international fame and won a number of awards including Song of the Year in 94’ for the post-apartheid love ballad “Mmalo we”.