Gideon Bendile, Zulu Spear, and Kalahari Experience
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Gideon Bendile, Zulu Spear, and Kalahari Experience


Band World A Capella




"Welcome to the USA"

The bouncy Afro-pop on Welcome to the USA mixes South African vocal and instrumental styles with pop production and a polished San Francisco brass section, creating a winning formula. The close harmonies that are traditional in Zulu music and ringing Zimbabwean guitar are a great musical foundation, and the songs that are in English have intelligent lyrics. You may not notice those lyrics, so deeply moving are the voices as instruments. This is a listen-loud or put-on-headphones experience, so you can enjoy the interweaving of Gideon Bendile's melodic bass voice with Sevhaba Mokoena's stellar tenor. It's a real shame that more Zulu Spear albums weren't internationally distributed, as the group's African releases are very hard to find. -


1992 Welcome to the USA - Liberty

Songs from this top ten 1992 World Music album stream from

2009 Come Over to Our House - self-published by Gideon Bendile featuring members of Zulu Spear and soon to be available from CDBaby. 10 songs from the CD are available in this ePK for listening



Iconic world music dance band Zulu Spear performs Afro-beat and roots music, playing traditional South African mbaqanga rhythms and harmonies with modern electric instruments, percussion, and horns. Zulu Spear have shared the stage with many renowned artists including Ladysmith Black Mombazo, The Neville Brothers, Tom Tom Club, Dave Brubeck, Wynton Marsalis, and the Grateful Dead.

Phil Nott 415 444 6579

The newly reformed Zulu Spear features members of the BAMMY award-winning 1980's line-up, including band leader Gideon Bendile (vocals, drum, dance), Ron Vanleeuwarde (guitar and vocals), Matthew Lacques (guitar), Paajoe Amissah (bass), Adam Beach (Sax), and Jerome Leonard (Drums). Newer members include Moeketsi Kiibe (percussion), Portia (dance and vocals), and Scott Vento (keyboards).

Gideon, Ron, and Moeketsi also form the core of Kalahari Experience, an Acapella ensemble that tells traditional South African stories through harmonies, rhythms, dancing, and storytelling .

Gideon Bendile was born in Soweto South Africa in 1951. He toured Europe and the US with IPI Tombi until 1975 when he settled in Las Vegas. In 1986 he moved to the Bay area to form Zulu Spear with the late Sechaba Mokeoena . Gideon has performed and recorded with many musical icons including Hugh Masakela, Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, Sammy Davis Jr., and Siegfried and Roy . He also appeared on the big screen as a small boy in the highly acclaimed 1964 Stanley Baker movie "Zulu". Heis also well known for his charming performance in The Lion King's "The Circle of Life" song with Elton John.

Ron Van Leeuwarde- From Surinam, South America, playing a burning lead guitar and adding the high harmony to the vocals, Ron''s flashing good looks and stage presence set him apart as the hearthrob of the group, yet he is a serious musician who works very hard at his craft. He has been with Sechaba since the very first rehearsal of Zulu Spear.

Adam Beach – horns - Adam Beach grew up in Santa Cruz, California listening to musically eclectic public radio stations and playing music in public schools and at the local Jr. college (Cabrillo). He studied jazz saxophone and flute privately with Paul Contos. The baritone has always been his favorite saxophone, but tenor and alto have also found their place, along with flute and pennywhistle. Though steeped in jazz (working with groups ranging from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk dixieland band to a quintet with guitarist Charlie Hunter), Adam has always appreciated playing with reggae, rock and African pop groups such as the Uptones, O.J. Ekemode & The Nigerian All-stars, and more recently the Deborah Iyall Band (a/k/a/ Romeo Void). When asked to join Zulu Spear in 1990, he left college and toured and recorded with the group for at least 4 years. "Zulu Spear has always been one of my crowning achievements as a performer. The music covers just about everything I love. Fronting the band as a horn soloist has been both a learning and a loving experience."

Scott "Sven" Vento - Keyboards, Trumpet - While studying jazz and classical composition in Los Angeles, Sven had the opportunity to perform with some of the LA's baddest up-and-coming fusion artists, including Dave Karasony, Gary Willis, Mike Barsimanto, Gary Meek and Brad Dutz. Moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, he toured and recorded with Ivson Lins and Planet Rio, and was instantly hooked on the Afro-cuban rhythms and exotic harmonies of Brazil. Sven's interest in world music motivated him to launch Lutsinga Musical Ensemble with South African singer-songwriter Thilivhali Tshivhase (Amandla Poets, Vukani Mawethu), and Ipi 'Ntombi alumus Matome Somo. Intent on blending the full breadth of these influences, Sven recently formed Mana Humana, a jazz collective that includes former members from several Bay Area world beat groups, including Zulu Spear.

Moeketsi O. Gibe – Percussion and vocals -was born in South Africa Johannesburg. He studied African music at the University of Cape Town (PDM) Performers Diploma in African music and majored as a percussionist. While leaving in South Africa, Moeketsi worked as percussionist in drumming ensembles such as DrummingSA and Team Spirit performing through Cape Town. In the United States he still works as a cultural arts instructor with a non-profit agency (AHC) Attitudinal Healing Connection, serving school
districts and the communities of the Bay Area with arts and culture. He also perform as a percussionist, vocalist, and dancer with various bands and ensembles in the bay area such as, Zulu Spear Band, Kalahai Experience, Chinyakare Ensemble, Ben Benkert band, and African Outlet Ensemble.

Matt Lacques - guitars - grew up all over California and Texas in the 1970s, and lived in Austin, TX in the early 80’s in the prime of its songwriter heyday. Finally settling in the San Francisco area