Pokei Klaas portrait

Pokei Klaas

South Africa

Pokei took up the double bass in his twenties after suffering a knee injury in soccer. Since then Pokei has played in several bands throughout Cape Town, and today he is proud to share his musical skills on the double bass and electric bass with eager students of his community.

How we met:

After finishing the first Playing For Change film, "A Cinematic Discovery of Street Music," Mark's brother, Greg Johnson, gave Mark a photo of an African Jazz Band from the Township of Gugulethu, South Africa. Mark immediately hung it up on his wall, using it as a metaphor for what was to come next. He would say at every PFC meeting, we are going to find that band.

A few years later we were in Cape Town, South Africa filming. After we checked in to our hotel and became acquainted with our surroundings we wandered along the streets to find some lunch. While waiting for a robo (traffic light) to change green we heard music in the distance and decided to discover its origin. A three block walk led us to a band called Joe and the Ganja Muffins. After they finished their set, one of our music producers, Enzo Buono, asked Joe whether or not he knew of Pokei Klaas. To our amazement he not only knew him, but he was good friends with him! That moment of discovery embodies what Playing For Change is all about. Now, three years later, the Playing for Change Foundation has built its first music school in Pokei's township of Gugulethu, and he is a major spirit representing the Playing For Change Movement.

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