Hugh's trumpet triumph | Music Feature | Indy Week
Pin It

Hugh's trumpet triumph 

South African brass legend returns

click to enlarge Hugh Masekela
  • Hugh Masekela
Hugh Masekela: If you're a boomlet, like me, you remember this South African-born trumpeter for his musical activism in the 1980s. Besides his involvement with the Broadway musical Sarafina and Paul Simon's Graceland tour, Masekela's 1987 hit song "Bring Him Back Home!" pictured Nelson Mandela walking free through the streets of Soweto. That song mobilized the world against apartheid, as we grooved to its optimism, sunny harmonies and catchy beat.

Masekela may be the father to a certain brand of African World pop, but his fusion of raw bebop with South African mbaquanga music first struck a nerve with the psychedelic generation. A few decades earlier, Boomers had flooded toward love-ins like the Monterrey Pop Festival (made famous in the D.A. Pennebaker documentary) to see Masekela alongside Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane.

Masekela's breakthrough hit came in 1968 with the instrumental single "Grazing in the Grass," but you might say his first break came when he was still a teenager in Johannesburg. Louis Armstrong sent a trumpet to the youth orchestra Masekela played in, the Huddleston Jazz Band, a group founded by an anti-apartheid priest.

Masekela soon left South Africa to escape the apartheid regime and pursue his musical education abroad. His exile took him first to London, then New York in the 1960s, where he joined the circle of prominent black entertainers and activists Harry Belafonte, Miriam Makeba and Dizzy Gillespie.

"Although rhythm and blues, gospel, and salsa were basically new horizons for me," he wrote in his 2004 autobiography, Still Grazing, "it all felt like I'd been with these people in another life."

In the 1970s, Masekela jammed with everyone from Herb Alpert to Fela Kuti. He lived all over Africa before eventually returning home to South Africa in 1991. Today, he mentors young South African artists. With over 30 albums to his credit, his latest, Revival, is on the Heads Up international label.

Hugh Masekela performs Sunday, April 23 at 7 p.m. on
the Meadow Stage
.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Music Feature



Twitter Activity

Comments

This is a wonderful tribute to David. David was in my class at Duke and was one of my best …

by John Scott 1 on A Requiem for David McKnight: Prodigy, Journalist, Politician, Homeless Street Musician (Music Feature)

Thanks to the band at Motorco tonight. It was beautiful. I never get chills in late June during a Carolina …

by Shocka Kahn on Four Years After His Death, Jason Molina Lives on Through a New Book and a Revived Reunion (Music Feature)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

This is a wonderful tribute to David. David was in my class at Duke and was one of my best …

by John Scott 1 on A Requiem for David McKnight: Prodigy, Journalist, Politician, Homeless Street Musician (Music Feature)

Thanks to the band at Motorco tonight. It was beautiful. I never get chills in late June during a Carolina …

by Shocka Kahn on Four Years After His Death, Jason Molina Lives on Through a New Book and a Revived Reunion (Music Feature)

Great story about a fine couple with a meaningful dream. Pulling for you all the way, Andrew and Gretchen!

by Jeff Korsmo on Chapel Hill Native Andrew Weathers Hops from Oakland to a Tiny Texas Town in Pursuit of New Musical Experiments (Music Feature)

there actually is a back door that cuts the transit between the two venues in half. someone might be willing …

by Daniel Stark on How Do You Solve a Problem of Two Like-Minded Shows in the Same Building on the Same Night? (Music Feature)

The Cry of Love debut album is still one of my favorites, and it's a damn shame that Kelly saw …

by bluesbro71 on Cry of Love vocalist Kelly Holland died depressed, but not alone (Music Feature)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation