SIPHO Gumede was born in Cator Manor, Durban. His earliest musical memory is of playing guitar and penny whistle. The guitar was home made: a 5 gallon tin, wood and fish gut. He and his friends would play the tunes of Spokes Mashiyane, Zakes Nkosi and Lemmy "Special" Mabaso.
At the age of 12, Sipho went to stay on a farm some 30 kms from Umlazi. He was exposed to many different kinds of music - vocal and soulful traditions, the music of weddings and funerals. After school each day, he'd pass the time watching cattle practising on a borrowed guitar. This period was crucial in the formation of Sipho's musical outlook.
Sipho returned to Umlazi at the age of 16 and met the late great jazz guitarist, Cyril Magubane who introduced him to the music of Wes Montgomery and the world of jazz. He also met Dick Khoza and landed his first professional job as a member of the Jazz Revellers, switching from guitar to bass.
In 1970, Sipho headed for Johannesburg, arriving in a strange city he headed for the only place he knew. Dorkay House in Eloff Street. There, he met the great musicians of the time.
He joined Dennis Mphale and Cocky Tlhotlhalemaje in "Isintu" and worked with Dennis' band at the Piano Culo Music Festival. Thereafter, Sipho rejoined Dick khoza who was based at the Pelican Nightclub. The Pelican was a great musical laboratory in the 1970's. On any given night, legendary artists would pop in for a jam or perform as part of the Sunday night cabaret.
Later Sipho joined Gibson Kente and toured the country. He then left Gibson to concentrate on practising and perfecting his technique, upon hearing the music of Stanley Clarke, Airto Moreira, Flora Purim and Chick Corea. He then teamed up with Jabu Nkosi, Barney Rachabane, Duke Makasi, Dennis Mpale and Enoch Mtlelane as the short lived Roots. After the demise of the Roots, Sipho met Bheki Mseleku forming a dynamic and creative partnership which eventually led to the formation of Spirits Rejoice - a group which provided the space to