Reader Spotlight: Vuyani Wakaba

Vuyani WakabaMeet Vuyani Wakaba, a bassist from South Africa now living and playing in Chicago. Vuyani is our player in the spotlight for November 8, 2011.


South Africa’s Vuyani Wakaba is the bassist for the Chicago blues legend and Delmark Records artist Eddie C. Campbell. Vuyani is also the bassist and founder of the Chicago jazz fusion band Vuyani Wakaba & Friends.

Occasionally, Vuyani plays with Phil Upchurch Jr., as well as with Chicago’s world music group The Dadabeat, and is often called to play for the Sing To Live Community Chorus.

Other engagements on Vuyani’s calendar often include performances in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, as well as freelance work. Vuyani Wakaba plays jazz, blues, funk, soul, R&B and fusion.


Chicago, IL

Day gig:

Civil Engineering Tech – Steel Joist and Steel Deck Estimator.

Years experience:

16 years

Bands & Gigs:

I’m the bassist for Chicago blues legend and Delmark Recording artist Eddie C. Campbell. (We just finished tracking his latest CD at Delmark Records’ Riverside Studios). I generally play most of Eddie C. Campbell’s U.S. dates (he usually will get a sub for his European or South American dates – my day job limits my ability to travel for extended periods). I am also the bassist and leader of my own band, Vuyani Wakaba & Friends. This band usually performs in the mid-west of the United States.


I use and endorse the following:

  • Essential Sound Products MusicCord Pro
  • DR Strings
  • Mogami cables
  • DNA Amps
  • Gallien-Krueger
  • Centrance AxePort Pro
  • iGig gig bags
  • KSM Foundation Bridge

Why I play the bass:

From an early age, I’ve been blessed with being able to hear and remember bass lines in popular music. I identified this gift long before I knew what a bass line was, however, I did not get a chance to be introduced to the bass until relatively late in life. Once discovering the bass, I felt like a fish in water. Playing the bass was fun, and it was an easy fit. The range and sound of the bass spoke to me like no other instrument. Within three months of getting my first bass, I was a gigging musician.

My bass superpower/claim to fame

I believe I have the gift of bringing people together. I’m the founder of The Chicago Rhythm Collective – a forum for Chicago area bass players and drummers. With this forum, we’ve been able to host clinics (bass clinics, drum clinics, studio recording clinics, performances, etc.).

My influences

There are too many to mention. Here are a few:

  • Albert Hobson (San Francisco Bay Area Bassist).
  • Bernard Edwards
  • Victor Wooten
  • Victor Little (San Francisco Bay Area Bassist).
  • Phil Upchurch Jr. (Chicago guitarist/Bassist & Drummer).
  • Will Howard (Chicago bassist).

More on the web:

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Share your thoughts

  1. Kemet Pryor

    The Dude! :-D Great article!

  2. Wow; your music must keep you super busy. Glad to learn that you are enjoy something you love so much and hope all is well with you. Ever come to Texas? Let us know if you do.

    • Hey Joyce! Yes…I’ve got my hands full. It’s not work when you’re having fun… I’m juggling work, my own musical projects, as well as working as a sideman on other musician’s projects. Haven’t been to Texas since the last time I went with you and Dick. I definitely want to make it out.