Carl Winters was born in San Antonio, TX and comes from a musical family. His uncles were the “Spiritual 5” who opened shows in the 1950s for Sam Cooke & the Soul Stirrers, the 5 Blind Boys of Alabama and Mississippi, and other gospel greats. During the same time, the music of T-Bone Walker, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Freddie King saturated the air waves which had a profound effect on his music imagination. Winters’ inspiration to begin playing/studying the Kalimba (African thumb piano) came in the 1970s from Maurice White, founder of Earth, Wind, & Fire.
After playing with various jazz groups in Houston, Winters moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and became an elementary school teacher where he incorporated music into the curriculum.
For 25 years, his students, known as the “Kalimba Kids”, performed for the Hayward Unified School District Superintendent & staff, the Mayor of Hayward & staff, churches, TV & Radio stations, restaurants, nursing homes, and schools. Their performances included singing, miming, dancing, and chanting.
Winters assists with the Allen Temple Baptist Church Children’s Choir. He also gives performances nationwide at libraries during their annual “Summer Reading Programs”. Some of his past performances include the Smithsonian Institution, the Heritage Days Festival in South Carolina, the Gullah Festival in South Carolina, the Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee, the Museum of the African Diaspora (MOAD), and various other museums and churches across the country.
In addition to playing for all ages and occasions, he also gives kalimba lessons.