All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Hotep Idris Galeta

Hotep Idris Galeta Hotep Idris Galeta

Pianist-composer-educator Hotep Idris Galeta ‘Cecil Galeta’ was born on 7 June 1941 and grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. However, he was more commonly known as Cecil Barnard; Barnard was his father's first name. Galeta used the name Cecil Barnard until he left South Africa in 1961. He legally changed his name to Hotep Idris Galeta in the late 1980s when he embarked on a personal spiritual quest. He embraced and explored aspects of the Islamic mystical tradition called Sufism. For the purposes of this biography he will be referred to simply as ‘Galeta’.

During his teenage years Galeta was drawn into a very active nucleus of South African jazz musicians, among them; Dollar Brand, Chris McGregor, Dudu Pukwana, Johnny Gertze, Makaya Ntoshoko and many other notable South African musicians.

Bassist Lamie Zukufu exposed Galeta to the music of Bud Powell and Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker when he was sixteen years old. Dollar Brand (now known as Abdullah Ibrahim), played a significant role in Galeta’s early musical development, both as a friend and as a role model. Dollar Brand exposed him to the music of Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins. Geleta also spent a lot of time with the pianist Chris McGregor and the saxophonist Dudu Pukwana. These two musicians opened his ears to the music of Herbie Nichols and Ornette Coleman, which changed his musical concepts quite drastically. By the turn of the 1960s, South Africa had institutionalized apartheid and instituted martial law, driving most of these musicians abroad.

Read more



Album Malay Tone Poem by Hotep Idris Galeta

Malay Tone Poem

Sheer Sound



Shop Amazon

All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.