Tlale Makhene


Born in Soweto, South Africa, Tlale Makhene is one of South Africa’s sought after drum beater who moved to Swaziland at a young age and began drumming at the age of four. Highly regarded by musicians and musical fans, he is also a teacher, session musician and performer. His ‘The Ascension Of The Enlightened’ album is a true spiritual offering from a truly enlightened man. His passion for music began when he was young, he was influenced by his sangoma grandmother who often danced and ‘roll the bones’ to drumbeats.

He began playing drums in church as well as leading the drum majorettes in his school. After leaving school, he returned to his birthplace Soweto in 1992 and began studying drumming full time at the FUNDA Center. He was expelled after a year for having too many ‘outside activities’ Six months later, they approached to come back to the center.

Being part of a number of workshops saw him come across a group three Danish drummers known as Drums Across. They had been recruiting drummers in the country and it was a matter of time before they discovered Tlale and his talent. Starting in West Africa, the group traveled around looking for talent to work with. He was invited to return with them to Denmark for three months and work on musical projects. He joined them and went to record in Denmark. This afforded him an opportunity to collaborate with John Sund, Yasser Pino, Rune Thorsteinsson (pianist), Carsten D among many others. While in that country, he performed with the Copehagen Rhythmic Conservatory Big Band and taught rhythmic workshops in Copenhagen as part of a cultural exchange program. He recorded six tracks for his album in Denmark before completing the project in South Africa. He came back home and recorded some of the tracks at SABC studios in Johannesburg. The album was produced by Africa Mkhize.

In 2005, he won the MTN SAMA Award in the Best Contemporary Jazz Album, contending with established artists such as Hugh Masekela, Paul Hanmer, Water + Lights and Themba Mkhize – a testament to a man that puts his faith in the hands of his provider.

SZMbabane, Swaziland


Tlale Makhene