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Bra Hugh withdraws from US Shows April / May 2017

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Press Release

Hugh Masekela was advised by his physician not to travel to the US following a recent fall in Morocco in which he dislocated his right shoulder. The injury was not initially thought to be too serious, but after further assessment it emerged that the fall aggravated old shoulder and back injuries which Hugh sustained in 1993, (when he suffered ruptured tendons and ligament damage in both shoulders after falling through a hole in the stage during a performance at the JHB City Hall).

The medical advice was therefore to remain in SA in order to undergo an immediate operation to repair the back tendons, and then extended rest, in order not to risk any future permanent damage.

He will thus not be allowed to perform for at least 4 weeks

This affects the following shows:

The 27 April Jazz Epistles Performance at Town Hall, New York, NY will continue with Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya with Lesedi Ntsane.

The 29 April Jazz Epistles Performance at the New Orleans Jazz Festival will continue with Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya with Lesedi Ntsane.

Lesedi Ntsane is a talented young South African trumpet player, who recently graduated from the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York. Bra Hugh recommended Lesedi Ntsane as an exciting musician of amazing ability for whom he has tremendous respect.

The 30 April Jazz Epistles Performance at the Atlanta Jazz Festival has been cancelled.

The 4 May Tribute to Louis Armstrong at the New Orleans Jazz Festival will continue as scheduled, featuring Nicholas Payton, James Andrews and Dr Michael White.

Bra Hugh is deeply disappointed that he cannot perform at these shows and hopes to be back on stage by the end of May. He looks forward to seeing his loyal US fans when the Jazz Epistles return in 2018.

No Borders Launch Live at the Lyric

No Borders Launch

Kaya FM 95.9 and Bassline Live Present another iconic show on Friday 14th April as we host the legendary Hugh Masekela live on stage at The Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City. Originally based at Bassline’s old Newtown venue, the series has happily moved and in doing so, set the bar on entertainment higher than ever before.

The Home of the Afropolitan, Kaya FM is proud to be partners in presenting the internationally renowned and phenomenal Hugh Masekela. The Jazz maestro presented his latest album No Borders exclusively on Kaya FM in November 2016. Listen out for exclusive interviews leading up to the showcase.  Bra Hugh will also be performing tracks from the album live for the very first time at this event, making it an even more exclusive experience.

The Kaya Fm & Bassline Live series experienced yet another sold-out show as Thandiswa Mazwai blew the audience away with her “The Belede Experience” performance in March, seeing her jazz roots come alive in spectacular fashion. The series has historically grown from strength to strength, culminating in the past two shows being sold out sometime before performance date, and we predict with Bra Hugh it will be a similar, if not even faster rush for the box office.

Hugh Masekela needs very little introduction to South African audiences.  A world-renowned flugelhornist, singer and defiant political voice, his eclectic musical style is infused with jazz and mbaqanga, combining his gravelly voice and smooth horn sounds with an ever-present concern for his home and country, having lived 30 years of his life in exile.  In his career, he has released well over 40 albums and at the age of 77 he released his brand new work ‘No Borders’, featuring extraordinary collaborations with diverse artists including Zimbabwean legend Oliver Mtukudzi, J Something from pop group Micasa, Themba Mokoena, Salema Masekela and Sunny Levin. He has been celebrated in numerous ways over the years for his outstanding work and contribution to arts and culture and is currently using his global reach to spread the word about heritage restoration in Africa.  “My biggest obsession is to show Africans and the world who the people of Africa really are”, he explains, and it is this commitment to his home continent that has propelled him forward since the beginning of his career.

We are honoured to be able to have this icon join our family of superstars in the Kaya FM & Bassline Live Presents series. Book now to avoid missing out!

Sunday 11 June – 5pm.Tickets: R300 – R750.  Book at Computicket.  No door sales.

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Bra Hugh Vouches for African Unity

Ghana Inauguration

21 January 2017
Sowetan Live
Lesley Mofokeng

 

I ask Bra Hugh if he’s on Twitter. He replies: “No, but I’m on Whatsapp.” I’m defeated.

He notices my disappointment and we burst out in laughter.

He may not be as tech-savvy and on top of social media trends as I would like him to be, and at 77 it’s kind of understandable. But Hugh Masekela is not shy to express himself.

We begin our quick chat in the comfort of his offices in chic Parkhurst, Johannesburg north. He’s just got back from Ghana where he performed at the inauguration of the new president Nana Akufo-Addo.

“He’s an old friend that I met through Fela [Kuti] in the 70s, because he was Fela’s lawyer. And I’ve watched him for 40 years aspire for this office because his passion for Ghana is so deep, and it’s a pleasure to finally see him get it.

“He lost twice in the last 10 years, the last time he lost by 20000 votes, but now he won by a million and half votes. Sometimes patience helps.”

Masekela is one of the greatest living musicians of our time, and he continues to release music. His newest is No Borders. He makes no apologies for being a proponent of Africa without borders.

“The music speaks for itself. You can feel geographically where we are most of the time. I’m very obsessed with cancelling the borders in people’s minds and let them get a sense of who they are.

“The Hugh Masekela Heritage Foundation does work in the historical space. Our people don’t know anything about themselves.

“Cancelling borders in our heads and nationalism will help us to get rid of xenophobia, especially if we knew our history because most of us re makwerekwere (we are foreigners) historically. I tell people when I’m on stage that us, the Masekelas taught the Batlokwa how to till the land, but originally we are the Munyepawu and come from Zimbabwe.

“Even in our praise singing it’s there.”

The album is an eclectic mix of sounds and influences, a nomadic journey from Cape to Cairo, Dakar to Addis.

He recorded Been Such A Long Time Gone first some 40 years ago on the album I’m Not Afraid, which had the original Stimela and The Marketplace.

“It’s like a trip from the desert right down. At the end it says right across the river Limpopo white soldiers standing in the road, then pop goes my dream, but I didn’t put that in because that was an apartheid reference.”

Congo Woman, is a delightful tribute to the DRC, the land of a thousand dances. In it he celebrates the dances – kwassa kwassa, rumba and others.

“I was inspired by Papa Wemba. There is a great album of his called Bakala Di A Kuba. In it he has this song where he sings with four other Congolese and they exchange parts, so I called my nephew and Kabomo and Tresor to put in the Congolese feel.”

Other feature are JSomething on Heaven In You, Oliver Mtukudzi on Tapera and Themba Mokoena on The Rooster and KwaZulu. It is produced by Kunle Ayo

Perhaps his most important recording is In An Age with his son Selema, known as Alekesam in Hollywood.

“He’s been a musician since he was a kid. When he started school he played the clarinet, the saxophone and has always been able to sing. He got together with Sunny Levin, who is my best friend’s son and they formed a group and Sunny wrote the song and they asked me to rap on it and put something in an African language, so I chose a Tswana verse.

“I’d like this album to have an impact on whoever is listening to it, a curiosity about Africa, and African history and the whole borders situation. It should awaken interest about our origins. And I hope they enjoy the music.”

In three months Masekela turns 78.

“I feel very fortunate. I was bewitched with music when I was a child and I ended up living in it. I never planned to get where I am today. I just went into it for the passion. And it brought me halfway around the world a few times.

He is thankful to have met some of the greatest people in the world thanks to his music.

“I was helped by a lot of people, especially Miriam, Father Huddleston, and Belafonte, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis. I was able to go to exile for 30 years and still come back home to see the change and the freedom of our people.

“I think we are in a disappointing era in our lives. What we hoped for for our freedom is not really taking place. I really hope everyone had the chances and opportunities that you and I have, at least to live a half a decent life. The truth is that the majority of our people are poor.”

 

 

SA Jazz Festival // Kimberley

SA Jazz Fest Kimberley

Sowetan Live

Jazz global icon Hugh Masekela, multi-award winning artists; Judith Sephuma, Ray Phiri, Stimela, Simphiwe Dana and internationally acclaimed Oliver Mtukudzi will headline the inaugural SA Jazz Festival in Kimberley.

“This is our first year and we want to create a very unique property. We have pulled a great all-star versatile jazz line-up that will give jazz lovers a mind-blowing and a memorable experience.

It has been a dream for long to create this flagship event that showcases SA Jazz tapestry, culture, food and tourist attractions in the Northern Cape,” says the founder and organiser, Somandla Sibisi.

This all South African Jazz affair will take place at Langley Pleasure Resort on Saturday 17th December 2016. The festival will kick off the Christmas festive season in what will be an annual staple for jazz lovers in South Africa and across the Northern Cape Province.

The festival’s core values are to develop, nurture, empower and showcase local jazz talent too. As a result three local artists and bands will be given an opportunity and a platform to perform among the big names. These include local singing sensations, Dineo, Michelle and Angelique. Acclaimed jazz master and singer, Ray Phiri will conduct workshops and presentations for up-and-coming musicians to hone their skills.

Old Favourites in Thrilling New Guises

London November 2016

Hugh Masekela review – 4/5 stars

Robin Denselow
The Guardian

Ronnie Scott’s, London
At 77, Masekela still likes to surprise in this memorable return to the club he first played in the 80s.

‘This is a wonderful nightmare,” said Hugh Masekela, as he looked out at the Ronnie Scott’s crowd, “because nothing has changed.”

He first played here in the 80s, when he bravely insisted on a smoking ban. These days he concentrates on concert halls and festivals, so watching South Africa’s most celebrated musician return to this intimate venue 16 years after he last played here was a rare treat.

At 77, Masekela still likes to surprise. The set contained no songs from his forthcoming album No Borders; instead he concentrated on reworking old favourites.

Chileshe now began with a gently slinky township riff from his five-piece band, against which he demonstrated first his flugelhorn work and then his even more thrilling and versatile vocals.

When he moved on to Market Place, he switched from lyrical passages to bursts of rapid-fire scat in which he traded phrases with his remarkable guitarist Cameron John Ward.
Then came a thrilling treatment of Stimela, his pained lament for migrant workers, treated with train noises and other vocal effects, and a rousing, theatrical reworking of Fela Kuti’s Lady that switched from Afrobeat to a rock guitar workout.

There were no lectures about the state of the world or South Africa, but the finale was a reminder of earlier, more optimistic days, with a treatment of his Mandela tribute Bring Him Back Home that had the audience on their feet. It was a memorable return.

No Borders

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Press Release
2 November 2016

World renowned trumpet and flugelhorn legend, Hugh Masekela returns with a fiery 44th album entitled ‘No Borders’.

Encompassing socio-political commentary, solid dance floor grooves and tender love songs, the 16 tracks move effortlessly through continental styles taking in Nigerian Afro-Beat, Congolese Kwassa Kwassa and South African Masqandi. From the opening angry salvo of “Shuffle and Bow” which evokes the American South and old plantation songs, to the haunting collaboration with Oliver Mtukudzi, “Tapera”, Bra Hugh shows that he’s lost none of his fire.

Recorded over a period of 9 months with producer Kunle Ayo, No Borders is a vibrant, bold and entertaining journey across various musical genres, featuring extraordinary collaborations. On the track “In an Age” Bra Hugh teams up for the first time with his US based son, Salema Masekela (AKA Alekesam), and the combination is thrilling. This song is also notable for Bra Hugh’s wild Zulu rap and was recorded in Los Angeles under the production guidance of Sunny Levine who also produced “One of These Days”. In another family connection, Sunny is the son of renowned producer, and Hugh’s long time friend and collaborator, Stewart Levine.

No Borders also includes the popular feel good summer single “Heaven in You” featuring J Something of Mi Casa and other tracks feature notable guests such as legendary South African guitarist, Themba Mokoena and Congolese singer, Tresor.

The album cover art shows a defiant Masekela showing off a pre-colonial map of Africa where no borders are represented, a state of affairs that is close to Bra Hugh’s heart. It is this theme that fuels the album’s pan-African feel, sound and vision.

At the age of 77 Bra Hugh is still blowing strong. No Borders looks set to return Bra Hugh to the top of the international charts.

Best Of MTVMAMA 2016

MTV Mama

Hugh Masekela Speaks On The Restoration Of Our Heritage And Languages

WAAFRIKA ONLINE
By Stella WaAfrika

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Last night, Saturday 22nd October, the MTV Africa Music Awards were held at the TicketPro Dome in South Africa. This was the first time the ceremony was held in Johannesburg, hosted by Bonang Matheba, Nomzamo Mbatha and Yemi Alade, who replaced Trevor Noah.

South African music legend, Bra Hugh Masekela was a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement award for his contribution in the industry. He started off thanking Africans all over the world for their support. The music icon did not waste any time; in his acceptance speech he expressed how we should restore the best elements of our heritage back into our lives and how as artists they should reflect our stories because as artists, they can’t always keep asking us to romance and dance all the time.

He further added, failing to restore our heritage and promoting our indigenous languages will probably one day have our children asked who they are and their response will be, “They say we used to be Africans very long ago.” Imagine that?

Watch the ceremony here

Star Alliance and Hugh Masekela

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HUGH MASEKELA, WORLD RENOWNED JAZZ MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER, SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS VOYAGER® GOLD CARD HOLDER AND STAR ALLIANCE GOLD STATUS

‘WHETHER I’M FLYING HOME OR TO A CONCERT, WITH SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS AND STAR ALLIANCE I AM ALWAYS TREATED LIKE A VIP. THE WAY I LIKE TO TRAVEL.’

Hugh Masekela has dedicated his life to music.

He first picked up a trumpet in the early ‘50s and has been playing ever since. During the last six decades he has released over 40 albums and has collaborated with musical greats such as Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder.

Restless, Hugh Masekela still travels to share his unique sound with the world. South African Airways and Star Alliance help him reach audiences worldwide in the comfort of Gold Status.

Fifth Annual International Jazz Day

jazz-day-2016

Hugh Masekela is set to join this year’s all-star line-up at the 2016 International Jazz Day in Washington DC. The celebration will be hosted by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House on April 30th. Other artists on the line-up include Herbie Hancock, Aretha Franklin, Buddy Guy, Dianne Reeves and Wayne Shorter. For more information about the event visit Jazzday.
The Values that Jazz Embodies as outlined by UNESCO:

Jazz connects people, cultures and the world.
Jazz tells a story of freedom that all people share.
Born in the United States, jazz is owned by the world. Jazz makes the most of the
world’s diversity, effortlessly crossing borders and bringing people together.
From its roots in slavery, jazz has raised a passionate voice against all forms
of oppression. It speaks a language of freedom, tolerance and human dignity.Through jazz, millions of people have sung and still sing today their desire forof oppression. It speaks a language of freedom that is meaningful to all cultures.From its roots in slavery, jazz has raised a passionate voice against all formsworld’s diversity, effortlessly crossing borders and bringing people together.Born in the United States, jazz is owned by the world. Jazz makes the most of theJazz tells a story of freedom that all people share.Jazz connects people, cultures and the world.

“Jazz contains something fundamental to the human experience; it speaks directly to
our very being without the need for translation, without regard for age, gender, race
or status…this is something we should celebrate!”
James Morrison

“Jazz Day is now the premier global musical endeavor that fosters and strengthens
communication and collaboration among groups who would not ordinarily unite. Jazz
Day celebrates our treasured art form, illuminates just how much we all have in
common, exemplifies cooperation, and enhances the peace-making process.”
Herbie Hancock

“Jazz music is a universal language that transcends cultures, politics, race, religion,
age and gender. In creative music there is a wonderful opportunity for a level of
communication that goes beyond than the language of words. When people
improvise music together they enter that wonderful moment of creating in the here
and now. When an audience is truly listening and participating in that moment, it can
be an exalted experience that together, we wish to feel again and again.”
Eliane Elias

Hugh Masekela & Boss Selection

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Hugh Masekela & Boss Selection’s Soulful Collaboration ‘One Of These Days’

OkayAfrica.com

Boss Selection is the California-based producer & songwriter Sunny Levine. Previous work with the likes of Pete Yorn, Scarlett Johansson, and Ariel Pink have cemented his reputation as a producer-to-watch. Levine is currently preparing the release of Volume One, a 13-track album that explores the different shades of Boss Selection’s soulful beatwork through multiple collaborations.

For “One Of These Days,” Boss Selection enlists South African legend Hugh Masekela to lay down some warm vocals over a hypnotizing track built on piano and synthesizer flourishes.

“Hugh is, and always has been, ‘Uncle Hugh’ to me—he and my dad have been friends since 1964,” Boss Selection explains over e-mail.

“I so badly wanted him on this record but knew it would be a bit tricky because of his touring schedule. I then found out he was going to be in town and started to get something ready. My dad had some piano chords that he sent me over an email, I took them, flipped them and made it into a cool little track.”

“I then figure that I wouldn’t really have the time to sit and write a tune with Hugh so I got into character and tried to write my very best “fake Hugh lyrics” and phrased it how I thought he would sing it. I sang it in his voice (and accent) to act as a demo. Hugh, with my Dad, met me at the studio the next day and he thought he was just gonna play a little trumpet and be done. But, then I told him I wrote the whole song for him to sing. I played it for him and he smiled all big and mischievous, “Sunny, you stole my shit. I’m gonna sing the shit out of it, then I’m gonna sue you…”

“He did sing the shit out of it, played some horns, and was out of there in an hour and a half. I got lucky that the tune worked so well. It’s one of those moments where you feel like you know what you’re doing, and you’re in full command of your abilities. But let’s not get carried away. I just got lucky that day.”

Boss Selection’s Volume One, featuring collaborations with Rashida Jones, Brenda Russell, Orelia, Pete Yorn and more, will be out tomorrow.

Hear the track

Photograph by Abby Ross