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Bayelsa International Jazz Festival

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BIJF: Femi Kuti, Hugh Masekela soak Yenagoa in jazz

The Sun
Kemi Yesufu

The Yuletide season couldn’t have started on a better note for Bayelsans and numerous jazz enthusiasts who stormed the Gloryland Cultural Center, Yenagoa on Saturday, December 7 for the inaugural edition of the Bayelsa International Jazz Festival.

All over Yenagoa, which is fast earning a reputation of a town that never sleeps, Christmas decorations give visitors a feel of celebration. It therefore came as no surprise that the Gloryland Center, venue of the jazz fiesta was filled to capacity. The atmosphere at the venue was carnival-like. It is doubtful that there were unoccupied seats as those who couldn’t get a place to sit, stood for the better part of the lively show which opened with a heart lifting rendition of the national anthem by Timi Dakolo.

Festival dedicated to Mandela

The Bayelsa International Jazz Festival took place two days after the death of highly revered Anti-Apartheid icon and first black president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. After leading in observing a minute of silence in respect of the late African leader, Governor Dickson announced that the festival was dedicated to him. The announcement was met with loud jubilation even as the governor declared that Mandela’s legacy is indelibly etched in the hearts of millions across the world. The governor was to return to the stage for a second time to present legendary South African musician, Hugh Masekela with the honorary citizenship of Bayelsa State.

Presidential commendation

President Goodluck Jonathan, who was represented at the event by the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Chief Edem Duke, commended the Bayelsa governor for honoring the memory of Mandela. He reminded guests that the federal government had earlier declared three days of mourning in recognition of the great contributions of the late icon to the emancipation of the black race. He said the dedication of such a major event to Mandela, points to the sterling leadership qualities of Governor Dickson.

“I am extremely delighted that this government dedicated this evening of jazz to celebrate an icon, whose struggle, vision, quality, courage, passion, commitment, belief, and whose integrity is definitive of the new and emerging leaders of Africa,” he said.

South Africa High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Lulu Louis Mnguni, while expressing gratitude for the recognition given Mandela, said that the event also presented an opportunity to celebrate musicians such as Masekela and Fela Anikulapo-Kuti who fought apartheid through music. Rwandan envoy, Mr. Joseph Habineza, equally had words of praise for the people of Bayelsa as he described their state as the emerging Las Vegas of Africa.

N200m for Bayelsa musicians

It wasn’t only the South African maestro who was honored by the Bayelsa State government. Governor Dickson also announced the donation of N200 million as the initial sum for the establishment of a music school in the state and an endowment fund for Ijaw artistes. Timaya, Timi Dakolo, Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria and Honorary Special Adviser to the Governor on Tourism, Anne Banner joined him in presenting the donation to the Director General of the state’s tourism agency, Ebizi Ndomu-Brown. Dickson who stressed his commitment to youth empowerment, called on young people in the state to take advantage of the opportunities presented by his administration.

Night of scintillating jazz

It definitely wasn’t a night for speeches. Rather it was a harvest of world-class entertainment. Though, jazz super star, Earl Klugh sent his apologies via a video message, he wasn’t missed, as the artistes on the night were superb. There never was a dull moment, not even for new entrants in jazz music. Starting from Ego whose smooth jazz tunes set the standard for the night. She showed fun seekers why her voice is celebrated. Then there was African jazz groove from Ogangbe, the 7-piece Benin Republic band that has worked with big names like Femi Kuti and Lagbaja. There was also the invigorating performance from jazz vocalist and instrumentalist, Lekan Babalola. The lanky musician and his 14-member crew that included the Eko Brass Band got the crowd singing along. Then, there was the energetic drum session by South Africa-based, Delta-born drummer, Daniel Isele. He heralded the entrance of the 22-man Naijazz All-Stars Band. Highflying jazz vocalist, Somi also had a good time on stage. Her three-song set ended with her cover of Fela’s ‘Lady’.

Masekela, Femi channel Fela

Undoubtedly, South African trumpeter and vocalist, Hugh Masekela and Femi Kuti were the star attractions for the Bayelsa International Jazz festival. Their five-star performances ensured that they lived up to the hype. Masekela whose vigour and stagecraft makes it hard to believe that he is 74-years-old got a standing ovation after his performance. The music icon, who along with his band, performed in the Ijaw traditional attires, channeled late Afrobeat creator, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti with his version of ‘Lady’. He further won the hearts of guests at the show when he pronounced very well Izonkene, the name given him by Governor Dickson.

Femi Kuti and his band took their turn on stage. He promised to give Bayelsans a taste of what is enjoyed at the New Afrika Shrine and he did. Despite the semi-formal atmosphere at the show, Femi’s dancers were at their best moving their bodies like they do back in their base. Most men at the show had an eyeful of the fire dance African women are known for. Femi, who joined the girls at some point for dance sessions, as usual didn’t spare government his dosage of ‘yabis’. Though, he commended Governor Dickson for the developmental projects dotting the state, he advised that more should be done to improve the lot of Bayelsans. Songs like ‘Sorry Sorry’, ‘Truth Don Die’, ‘Dem Bobo’, ‘Bang Bang Bang’ and ‘Water’ got the 4th Grammy nominee loud cheers from the crowd.

The show lasted till the early hours of Sunday, but the happiness exhibited by fun seekers was indicative of the fact that it had what it takes to become a major event in the Nigeria’s tourism calendar.

Festival of Lights

Festive Lights Switch On 2012

Top entertainers usher in Festival of Lights celebrations

City of Cape Town

The City of Cape Town’s festive season kicks into top gear on Sunday, 1 December 2013, when Executive Mayor, Alderman Patricia de Lille, switches on the city’s traditional festive lights, signalling the start of an exciting two-month programme.

The Festival of Lights celebrations, in the build-up to the traditional switch-on, will start at 16:00 and feature a star-studded entertainment line-up on the Grand Parade.

At 20:30 Mayor De Lille will ‘flick the switch’ to light up Cape Town’s traditional festive lights, amid a spectacular fireworks and laser display.

‘We are committed to uniting the many diverse communities from across the metropole and invite all Capetonians to come out in their numbers and enjoy the celebrations. An event is a uniting force and people come out with a common purpose, to relax and have fun together in a shared space. We would like to see the “gees” once again at this year’s festive season events,’ says the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing, Councillor Grant Pascoe.

Headlining the pre-switch-on entertainment is South Africa’s pre-eminent trumpeter-singer-songwriter, twice Grammy-nominated jazz legend Hugh Masekela. With 60 years in the music business, Masekela holds the Order of Ikhamanga from President Zuma (2010) and a WOMEX Lifetime Achievement Award (2011). He has also appeared the world over alongside the likes of Paul Simon and the late Miriam Makeba and Miles Davis.

Mi Casa will then take to the stage for an electrifying street party. The South African Music Award-winning, Johannesburg-based house music trio have topped various charts nationwide and have opened for a number of major international acts.

Also in the line-up are local crossover band Hot Water, the classically trained vocal maestro Selim Kagee, chart-topping electro-swing outfit GoodLuck, pop singer/songwriter Jimmy Nevis and Cape Town’s beloved dance-pop band The Rockets. They will be followed by DJ LuWayne at 21:40, who will spin the latest and greatest hits for revellers until 22:00.

The celebrations will be hosted by award-winning local entertainers Sorina ‘Die Flooze’ Erasmus of 7de Laan fame and Terence Bridgett who has appeared in Isidingo, Backstage and 7de Laan.

South Africa’s largest free open-air public event, the Festival of Lights, coincides with the start of the four-week countdown to Cape Town assuming the coveted title of World Design Capital (WDC) 2014 – a historic moment that will take centre stage at the City’s first New Year’s Eve celebrations on 31 December 2013, to be held on the Grand Parade.

Baobab Singers Collaboration

Photograph by Lauren Mulligan

Hugh Jives the Baobab Babes

Times Live
Andrea Nagel

Photograph by Lauren Mulligan

Hugh Masekela has teamed up with a bevy of young Scandinavian girls, the Baobab Singers, to produce an album of African folk songs that will be released next year.

The Danish group has been charming local township dwellers over the past few weeks by breaking into traditional folk songs in Sotho, Zulu, Xhosa and Tswana on street corners, wowing pedestrians with soulful renderings of songs they recognise.

A favourite of Desmond Tutu, the group of Danish singers performed at his 80th birthday party a few years ago and at his wife Leah’s 80th birthday this year.

When Bra Hugh heard them, he was astounded by their knowledge of South African music: ”I was watching television and there were these Scandinavian women singing Zulu and Sotho songs. What knocked me out was seeing these Danish people consumed by our heritage. With music being my first language, I feel they live in a world I’m obsessed with, which is heritage restoration. My first instinct was: ‘How am I going to get hold of them?'”

Baobab Singers’ interest in South African music was sparked by manager Rikke Forchhammer, who grew up in Tanzania. ”When I left, I found I needed African music to survive in Denmark. I studied musicology and specialised in African choral music. I’ve always been drawn to South African music because of its structure and soul.”

When Bra Hugh received an e-mail from Forchhammer suggesting a collaboration, he believed it was fate. The musicians have spent the past few weeks recording an album – not yet named – of 12 tracks, mostly South African traditional songs with some Danish and Norwegian folk songs too.

The songs are arranged by Bra Hugh.

”They have a township jive feel to them,” he says. He plays the flugelhorn but doesn’t sing on the tracks. ”I sound like a frog next to these beautiful voices.”

”With this album we are trying to combine the texture and soul of South African music with Danish music,” says Forchhammer.

Henny Hagerup, one of the singers, says: ”The subject matter is complementary. Our folk songs are stories that people tell about cows and small, everyday things. There are many similarities with South African folk music.”

Bra Hugh jokes: ”I was amazed at the speed at which the girls learned the new songs. I suspect they are also dabbling in African witchcraft.”

Trumpeting His Love for SA Languages

Times Live
Thekiso Anthony Lefifi

Photograph by GARY VAN WYK
Photograph by GARY VAN WYK

Hugh Masekela was terrified of losing his ability to speak South African languages during his 30 years in exile.

The legendary trumpeter, one of three musicians featured in the 21 Icons South Africa project, left the country shortly after the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 to study music in the UK and at the Manhattan School of Music in New York.

He received much assistance from another South African musical icon, the late Miriam Makeba, who was already living in the US. She introduced the then 21-year-old to international stars such as Harry Belafonte, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis.

Much earlier, as a schoolboy, his band was given a trumpet by the legendary jazz trumpeter and singer Louis Armstrong.

“I was already crazy about Louis Armstrong. We sang all his songs,” said Masekela.

“Trevor Huddleston, who had been the school chaplain, met Armstrong and told him about the band, and Armstrong sent us his trumpet and we became famous here in South Africa. We even appeared on the cover of Farmer’s Weekly – ‘Black Boys get Louis’ Trumpet’.”

Stories such as these mask the pain of exile, but in a short film to be screened on SABC3 tonight at 6.57pm, “Bra Hugh”, as he is affectionately known, describes his fear of losing his ability to speak South African languages.

“I used to have a place in Central Park where I would go to talk to my imaginary friends. I was terrified that I was going to lose my language. So I would go there and I would start to speak in Sotho first, and I would change from that to Zulu and then to Xhosa, and then I would go into tsotsi Afrikaans.”

He knew that he would be able to come home when fellow icon Nelson Mandela was finally released.

In 1991, Masekela launched his first tour of South Africa, which was sold out. Since then he has made Johannesburg his home.

This weekend he launched a national tour of townships and rural areas, the Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival.

The two-time Grammy nominee is tired of seeing core fans travel from far to see him perform. This time he wants to go to them – “just like I used to in the olden days”.

Although the tour is billed as a heritage festival, the Stimela singer says the event is not about heritage month. In fact, he is perturbed that South Africans try to embrace their heritage on only one day of the year.

He fears that parents will one day not able to answer their children’s questions about their heritage and culture.

“They [parents] will say: ‘Once upon a time we were Africans,'” he warned.

Masekela’s portrait by photographer Adrian Steirn is published in the R16 edition of the Sunday Times today.

It was shot in a public park near Masekela’s home in Bryanston, Johannesburg, and plays on the musician’s smash hit Grazing in the Grass. Released in 1968, it sold more than four million copies worldwide.

Healing Our Heritage

Photograph by Gallo/Foto24

Destiny Man
Gwen Podbrey

Photograph by Gallo/Foto24

Jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela may be a global icon, but his heart remains firmly in Mzansi – and he’s looking to restore its cultural identity.

At 74, Bra Hugh shows no signs of slowing down or resting on his laurels. Far from it. Indeed, he’s involved in several projects – recording, performing and writing – while preparing for the Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival, which takes place on Saturday, 28 September at the Elkah Stadium in the Soweto Cricket Oval and includes appearances by Thandiswa Mazwai, Mi Casa, Jeremy Loops, Desmond & the Tutus, Pu2ma, Phuzekhemisi and Khaya Mahlangu. It’s backed by Assupol, Soweto TV and Jozi FM.

It’s a fitting event for a man who’s done more than any other local musician to put South Africa and its music on the global map, and who’s revered internationally not only for his unique style and his flawless technique, but also for his numerous compositions, his professionalism and – above all – his utter commitment to his art.

He’s also acclaimed for his remarkable versatility: this is a trumpeter who’s as much at ease performing laid-back, Thirties and Forties Cole Porter and Gershwin with his long-time friend, pianist Larry Willis (the two released a box set last year titled Friends, which is set to become a classic) as he is rocking up a storm at a live gig, spending many hours in the recording studio, helping to showcase other artists or attending to releases under his own label.

The upcoming heritage festival, he says, is something he’s long wanted: not to blow his own trumpet (though he’ll certainly be doing that too!), but to have a platform in the heart of SA’s best-known township to bring authentic South African music and artists to the people. “When I was growing up, music was an integral part of the townships,” he says. “We played and heard it all day. Music surrounded us at all times. On weekends there were brass bands playing and marching, kids chanting songs in the street and singing groups on every corner. We had no TV or other entertainment – music was our way of life. If someone was getting married, there’d be a white flag attached to the house and the choir would practise for days leading up to the event.

“Today, that’s all disappeared. People in the townships – particularly the youth – have completely lost that element. And with it, they’ve lost a huge part of both who they were and who they are. Kids have no idea of their history, of what their mothers and fathers and neighbours went through, or the role music played in binding communities together and helping people survive the years of oppression. They’re listening to other music, by other artists in genres that aren’t part of township culture, and sung in English. I fear the day when our young people say: ‘They tell us we used to be Africans once.’

“What I’m trying to do is restore pride in their heritage, in their ethnic identity, in their language and in their artists. So the festival is a good platform for that.”

He’s excited about the surge of explosive young talent in the country, and while he doesn’t regard himself as a mentor – rather as a fellow artist who happens to have a lot more experience and exposure, and who loves collaborating – he says he sees and hears daily proof of Mzansi artists who can ignite a flame of cultural revival that will burn for generations to come.

He’s also turned to stage musicals as another format for realising his cultural vision. His musical, Songs of Migration – written and directed by James Ngcobo and featuring stupendous diva Sibongile Khumalo – drew on Bra Hugh’s own iconic compositions (Stimela, Languta) work, as well as some of the most poignant and powerful traditional songs ever to emanate from South Africa’s dispossessed, divided and disinherited communities. The show was highly successful, with lengthy runs in Johannesburg, as well as performances in Cape Town and a tour to Europe. He’s aiming to revive the show, as well as do others reflecting the legacies of the Manhattan Brothers, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Miriam Makeba.

Though he has no plans to retire anytime soon, Bra Hugh’s mindful of the need to document his career and his own remarkable journey, from shebeen-born Alexandra urchin to celebrated jazz maestro on the stages of Europe, Asia and the rest of Africa. It’s a journey that’s included wild, bohemian living, artistic and personal bonds with some of the greatest names in music, marital upheavals, personal heartbreak, substance addiction, rehabilitation and – above all – a passion for living, crying, laughing and uplifting through his instrument. His autobiography, Still Grazing, covered his life to the point where he returned from his years of exile to post-liberation South Africa. He’s now busy revising and extending it.

Then, of course, his extremely busy international touring schedule sees him spending much of the year abroad. And his recording work continues: his latest release, Playing @ Work, has been ecstatically received – and he has many more in the pipeline.

Anyone who’s watched Bra Hugh on stage knows why he’s considered one of the world’s greatest live performers: consummately professional, yet warm, relaxed and utterly unpretentious, he has audiences spellbound. His astonishing energy, vibrancy and discipline – as well as his superb group – take both music and audience to a state of near-hypnotic power. Yet for all the excitement, he’s in complete control of everything happening both on stage and in the audience. It’s a level of authority and confidence very few artists anywhere in the world can match.

Don’t miss his festival this coming weekend. It’s one of the most appropriate ways there could be of celebrating both SA’s heritage, and one of its greatest artists.

Serious Presents Hugh Masekela & Larry Willis

friends-cover

Serious

Press Release

“Damn, do they swing!” **** Rolling Stone

Tuesday 5 November | SOUTHAMPTON Turner Sims | turnersims.co.uk
Sunday 10 November | OXFORD St. John the Evangelist Church | sje-oxford.org
Monday 11 November | NOTTINGHAM Lakeside | lakesidearts.org.uk SOLD OUT
Wednesday 13 November | MANCHESTER RNCM | rncm.ac.uk
Thursday 14 November | BRISTOL St. George’s | stgeorgesbristol.co.uk
Friday 15 November | LONDON Royal Festival Hall | southbankcentre.co.uk
Saturday 16 November | BIRMINGHAM Town Hall | thsh.co.uk

A rare opportunity to experience the intimate side of South African maestro Hugh Masekela, in a sumptuously lyrical series of duets with master pianist Larry Willis, revisiting a long friendship stretching back to their days together at college in New York in the 60s.

Hugh Masekela, one of the most important figures in South African music, is also one of its biggest personalities, who has been performing, recording, and fighting apartheid for over five decades, and has worked with the Who’s Who of South African and international musicians.

“A musician of phenomenal grace and power; intricate and fiery on flugelhorn and still blessed with a voice that can strip the leaves from the trees.” The Independent

Larry Willis has long been a force on the New York jazz scene. His bold, frenetic, and ambitious playing found a home in the free jazz scene and also landed Willis recording dates with Lee Morgan, Jackie McLean, and Stan Getz. A long-time devotee of Herbie Hancock, Willis later moved into jazz-rock and fusion, and joined forces with Hugh for their celebrated earlier coalition, Almost Like Being in Jazz.

Their new release Friends is a masterpiece of chamber jazz combined with the sheer exuberance of the Masekela style. These concerts, based on the music of the Friends album, showcase the virtuosity and immense emotional capacity of both artists.

The London show has been moved from the Queen Elizabeth Hall to the Royal Festival Hall because the QEH concert was completely sold out.

zena

London-based performance poet, writer and musician Zena Edwards will be playing an opening set on all these dates, premiering a new work commissioned by the PRS For Music Foundation’s Women Make Music fund.

“Zena fuses the raw elements of urban experiences and expresses them through individualised rhythms of hip hop and jazz.” BBC Radio 1

The Masekela, Willis and Gismonti Southern Connection

Mail and Guardian
Stefanie Jason

Photograph by Jennifer Wheatley/Geotribe
Photograph by Jennifer Wheatley/Geotribe

Johannesburg came alive on Saturday evening when jazz greats took to the stage for “South Meets South — An Evening With The Masters”.

The feelings of familiarity rose from the soft cries of Hugh Masekela’s flugelhorn and the timeous notes from Larry Willis’s piano playing. This familiarity is undoubtedly owed to their long friendship and musical chemistry evinced on stage at the Johannesburg Arts Alive International Festival’s show at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, on Saturday.

As the two played classic jazz standards into the night, Masekela’s poor boy hat, wide tie and waistcoat, and Willis’s retro grey suit and eyewear added even more nostalgia to their show.

With bellows so heavy, Masekela’s knees buckled trying to carry the cries of his voice and horn while the crowd’s enthusiasm buoyed his sound. This was matched as Willis—a native New Yorker who has played alongside jazz legends such as saxophonist Jackie McLean and vocalist Carmen McRae—did more than just carry the melody.

Despite the venue’s cavernous feel that hardly provided the intimate setting this type of show deserved, the two musicians somehow managed to maintain a connection between them and the crowd.

Greeting the sea of diverse faces in the sparsely lit oversized tent, Masekela prepared the audience for a set featuring a “kaleidoscope of music” that influenced him and Willis throughout their 53-year-long friendship. With each song that followed came a comical or emotionally stirring anecdote told in the charismatic way the legendary South African musician has become famous for.

From stories of Masekela and Lewis’s time spent at New York’s Manhattan School of Music in the 1960s, to being introduced to each other and eventually starting a band—the award-winning trumpeter, flugelhornist and singer proudly spoke of their musical journey together.

‘Golden era of music’

“We met during the golden era of music in New York,” reminisced Masekela about his early years spent with Lewis jazz-club hopping in the Big Apple. Listing what they gravitated towards, he said: “We would see Count Bassie, Dinah Washington or Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers … and always ended up at the Village Vanguard to see Miles Davis every night that he was there.”

And with this long list of revered jazz greats he spoke of, Willis and Masekela played songs such as Easy Living by Billie Holiday and Clifford Brown, Fats Waller’s Until the Real Thing Comes Along and Billy’s Bounce by Charlie Parker.

Echoing what he said at TEDxObserver event in March last year—”Heritage is something that is beneficial to a society”—Masekela enthralled the audience with songs from his home country. Masekela was joined on stage by singer Pu2ma, the harmonising brothers from Vosloorus, in Ekurhuleni, called Complete—who provide backing vocals—and keyboardist Randall Skippers. They performed a few South African tracks such as Holilili and Abangoma, taught to Masekela by the late Miriam Makeba, who he said was “a stickler for tradition”.

Egberto Gismonti and Dr L Subramaniam

Living up to the event’s “South Meets South” title, which is part of the “Ten Days in September” theme as the festival takes place over 10 days across different venues in Jo’burg, the show featured acts from South India and Brazil, representing the Latin American south. The involvement of these countries at the event also forms part of the festival’s tribute to the inclusion of South Africa in the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) group.

Opening the event was India’s acclaimed classical violinist Dr L Subramaniam and his band, who took to the stage for an hour of Carnatic sounds. Leaving the crowd spellbound with his virtuoso technique, Subramaniam’s sounds reached a peak of frenetic yet melodic sounds that set the mood for the night.

Following Subramaniam, was one of Brazil’s most skilled instrumentalists Egberto Gismonti. Showing off his background in classical piano before moving on to playing the 10- and 12-string guitar, Gismonti kicked off his set on the piano with a deep and dramatic rendition of Robert Schumann’s Kinderszenen opus 15 number 7 Träumerei.

Gismonti later admitted that a technical glitch with his guitar meant he couldn’t play it as he had planned to. When he was finally handed the 12-string instrument, Gismonti warmed and smoothed his set out as he played only one song before expressing dissatisfation over the sound of the guitar and the lack of silence in the tent. “This guitar is almost broken. It needs a certain silence,” he said before playing what he called a “Norwegian flute”—known as a seljefloyte or an overtone flute.

Giving the audience lessons on how to play the part percussive, part wind instrument, Gismonti seemed to have forgotten about his guitar problems when he made jokes about the seljefloyte.

Before wrapping up the cool spring night, Willis and Masekela came full circle as they made newtown indeed a space for south and south to connect when they played When It’s Sleepy Time Down South, made famous by trumpeter Louis Armstrong.

Before playing it, Masekela spoke warmly of Armstrong—a musician who influenced the young Hugh and sent Masekela’s high school music group, the Huddleston Jazz Band, a trumpet after hearing about the band he helped set up. As the lights fell on the duo, Masekela praised renowned Satchmo’s legacy, saying: “If it weren’t for Louis Armstrong, we wouldn’t be here.”

Southern Masters of Jazz Join Forces

egberto-gismonti

IOL
Therese Owen

High-brow jazz forms a major part of the annual Arts Alive this year. It will be one of the rare occasions when South Africans will be able to see Hugh Masekela play classical jazz. He will be joined by life-long friend and jazz pianist extraordinaire Larry Willis.

Their performance forms part of the South Meets South – An Evening with the Masters performance. India’s violin icon, Dr L Subramaniam and Egberto Gismonto from Brazil complete the line-up. The concert is taking place at the Bassline on September 7.

Bassline’s Brad Holmes conceptualised the show and is very excited about what will transpire on the night. It is also in keeping with South Africa’s inclusion in the Brazil, Russian, India, China and South Africa group with cultural items from Brazil, India, and China featuring strongly in the content across artistic genres.

“It is an evening with the legends and I have chosen four musicians over the age of 70,” he enthused. “It’s going to be very personal and they will all end up playing together at the end.”

“Gismonti is a world-renowned multi-instrumentalist who is known for playing guitar. However, he will be playing piano.”

Looking at his vast repertoire, it is doubtful the man sleeps. He has recorded more than 60 albums, 27 scores for ballets, 28 film scores, 13 TV series and 11 theatre productions.

Bra Hugh and Willis have known each other for 60 years and tour the US as a duet.

They met at the Manhattan School of Music as students. Willis has played on more that 300 albums and recorded with greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey and Shirley Horn.

Pu2ma will provide the vocals to their performance.

Dr Subramaniam composed for film productions such as Bernardo Bertolucci’s Little Buddha and Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay and Missisippi Masala.

He has more than 150 releases and has collaborated with artists such as Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau and Joe Sample.

South Meets South will take place at Mary Fitzgerald Square under a dome. Tickets are available from Computicket.

The Johannesburg Arts Alive festival starts on Sunday with Jazz on the Lake.

This annual free festival boasts a strong line-up yet again. Mafikizolo is a must-see, particularly after their latest release and massive success of their songs Khona and Happiness.

The mbaqanga legend, Phuzekhemisi, makes a rare appearance at this end of the country and is also a great live experience.

Brenda Mntambo has been making waves in and outside of gospel.

There’s also a special treat for jazz heads in the Satchmo Trumpet Summit (from the US), while the Sufi Gospel Project from India promises to spice things up.

Please be aware that there will be road closures from 9am.

eTuk Tuks are available for the first time, and there is a park and ride from the Metro Building in Braamfontein and the Alexandra football stadium.

Assupol presents the Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival

Press Release

100 year old insurer, Assupol, will present the Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival on Saturday 28 September 2013 in the heart of Soweto.

The event sees the continuation of the insurer’s collaboration with Hugh Masekela, the celebrated trumpeter, who has appeared in Assupol’s TV advertising campaign since July last year.

The Festival will be staged at the Soweto Cricket Oval (also known as the Elkah Cricket Stadium) in Lefatola Street, Rockville, Soweto, with an incredibly diverse line-up of supporting artists handpicked by Hugh Masekela.

The line-up will include Thandiswa Mazwai, Phuzekhemisi, Mi Casa, Desmond & The Tutus, Pu2ma, Khaya Mahlangu, Jeremy Loops and of course Bra Hugh himself as the headline act.

“I’m really looking forward to this festival. I always love performing in Soweto and with this wonderful and eclectic array of talent on the line-up, I think it’s going to be a very special day”, says Hugh Masekela, who at 74 years is showing no signs of slowing down. He has also recently released a new album called “Playing At Work” to positive reviews.

The Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival aims to become an annual event moving forward, to celebrate Heritage month and to honour the people of Soweto.

Annelize van Blerk, Head of Corporate Affairs at Assupol, said: “Bra Hugh has a busy international touring schedule and it is only an honour for us to bring him to Soweto, a township that has supported and influenced his music over the years”.

“For us this concert is a fitting way to celebrate 100 years of Assupol, with a legend in the South African music industry who like Assupol, has stood the test of time”, she continued.

This concert is made possible by Assupol and supported by Soweto TV and Jozi FM.

TICKETS:
computicket1 @ R100

At the Gate @ R150

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Hugh Masekela and Larry Willis Tour the UK in November

Photograph by Jennifer Wheatley / Geotribe

Jazzwise Magazine
Nick Webb

Photograph by Jennifer Wheatley / Geotribe

Revered South African trumpeter and flugelhorn player Hugh Masekela sets out on the road in the UK with pianist Larry Willis this November, climaxing with an appearance at the EFG London Jazz Festival. Tickets to the London show on 15 November sold out so fast that the venue was moved from the Queen Elizabeth Hall to the Royal Festival Hall.

Masekela and Willis’ long friendship dates back to the 1960s when they were both studying in New York. Masekela’s playing, rich in the traditions of South African music, is tempered with the lyricism of Willis’ free-jazz and fusion piano. The concerts are based around the material of their 2012 album Friends. The tour dates are: Turner Sims, Southampton (5 Nov); St John the Evangelist Church, Oxford (10 Nov); Lakeside, Nottingham (11 Nov); RNCM, Manchester (13 Nov); St. George’s, Bristol (14 Nov); Royal Festival Hall, London (15 Nov); and Town Hall, Birmingham (16 Nov).