Remember Mace And Grenades? Bajabula Bonke? Stimela? Ha Lese Le Di Khanna? Hugh Masekela is perhaps the man who put the underline in African when people say that jazz is an African American art form. Ironically, Masekala came to the U.S. early in his career, wanting to be like folks such as Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis but it was Miles that told him that he needed to break out of the pack, do something unique. By adding traditional African music to jazz, Masekela created a new sound, that was both fun and refreshing and poignant and political. Who can forget the amazing eight-track soundtrack to summer “Grazing in the Grass?”
Hugh Masekela celebrates 75th birthday with Paul Simon
By JORDANNAH ELIZABETH
Legendary South African trumpeter and vocalist Hugh Masekela is celebrating his 75th birthday with a blowout tour, including two nights at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater with Masekela’s close friends Paul Simon and Harry Belafonte.
“We show up at each others things,” Masekela told the New York Daily News. “The last time I played at Carnegie Hall, he showed up on stage … We’ve got a great six-piece band together almost five years now, and we’ve been playing to sold-out houses. We’re here to make great music. That’s our main focus. Everything else is coincidental.”
Masekela has been entertaining audiences for over 50 years. He has worked as an activist for South African culture after witnessing the turmoil in Johannesburg in the 1950s.
He will be embarking on a 10-city tour to celebrate his long and culturally influential career. It’s always amazing to celebrate a thriving Black musician and activist in such a way that it brings generations and cultures together in New York City and beyond.