Pops Mohamed, born in Johannesburg, is said by many to be the ‘unofficial minister of music’. Owing his artistic openness to the Indian community in Benoni, growing up, his nickname Pops dates back to his childhood enthusiasm for the comic seaman, Popeye.
From his first hit in the townships in the 70’s, “I’m a Married Man” with his band Children’s Society to producing and engineering in the 80’s, he learnt to play the mbira and other African indigenous instruments. Producing 2 solo albums Kalamazoo and Sophiatown Society, both nominated for Best Jazz Album Award as well as his international debut album Ancestral Healing, recorded in New York, which won the 3rd annual FNB SAMA Award for Best Traditional Performance.
Fearing that traditional music would vanish in the wake of techno, he fuses traditional and modern sounds and rhythms to appeal to a wider audience. As he put it: ‘If people don´t understand where they come from, there is a hole in their soul.’ The most successful result of this vision has been the album How Far Have We Come, the first product of his long-lasting connection to the San (bushman) group from the Kalahari.
As a multiple Lifetime Achievement Award winner for preserving and protecting South African Heritage, especially ancient African musical instruments and the use thereof, Pops has made it his life mission to preserve African indigenous musical instruments for the 21st century.