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Assupol presents the 4th annual Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival

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The 4th annual Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival returns to its Soweto home at Rockville’s Elkah Stadium on 4 November 2017. This not-to-be-missed festival, presented by Assupol, features a wide range of musical flavours including Riky Rick’s Hip Hop hits and Papa Penny’s Tsonga disco, headlined by Oliver Mtukudzi.

Though he is not performing as he is resting after undergoing cancer treatment, the line-up is curated by Bra Hugh who is passionate about the power and potential of our nation’s cultural diversity. “We are becoming a society that imitates other cultures, yet we have the biggest diversity of heritage in our country. This festival is about celebrating that,” says Masekela, who this year was honoured with a Doctorate in Music by the University of KwaZulu-Natal on his 78th and birthday and was also honoured with another doctorate of music by Wits University.

This eclectic approach will be evident on stage on 4 November when fresh artists on the rise, who released albums this year, will also perform: Afro Folk singer Bongeziwe Mabandla; Indie band Bye Beneco; Soul Reggae funksters Johnny Cradle and Jazzy songbird Zoe Modiga. There will also be a performance by a Traditional Basotho Group and BCUC, a percussion heavy Indigenous Funk crew who have been catching the ears of international and local festival goers of late.

“Don’t miss this joyful family afternoon and early evening get together, Oliver and I together is spectacular, plus you’ll be bowled over by the seasoned artists and new names in the industry. Be there or be square!” Says Bra Hugh.

The Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival is a day of family fun, with entertainment available for all ages.  Tickets are R100 at Computicket, R150 at the gate and R50 for pensioners. Gates open at 11:00 am on the 4th of November.

Bridget Mokwena-Halala, Assupol Life CEO, said: “Music, entertainment and good food are an integral part to this inventive festival and we are at the same time, both honoured and excited to be part of it again. It showcases some of our brilliant local talent which promises an even more memorable experience than the previous year. This event is testament to Assupol’s commitment to the community it serves.”


About the event

Event              Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival

Date               Saturday, 4 November 2017

Venue            Soweto Cricket Oval (Elkah Stadium), 107 Lefatola Street, Moroka, Soweto



Oliver Mtukudzi

Papa Penny

Riky Rick

Bongeziwe Mabandla

Zoe Modiga

Bye Beneco


Johnny Cradle

Basotho Traditional Group


Follow the Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival on social media

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Born 22 September 1952 in Harare, Tuku (as he is affectionately and respectfully known by his many fans), the ‘soul-dripping voice of Zimbabwe’ as he has so aptly been described, has a career that has spanned 40 years, and is only now reaching its peak. An amazing body of work with no less than sixty original album releases (nearly all of them best-sellers)! Also to his credit are several collaborations and compilation releases.

It is his dedication to the live music scene in Zimbabwe – continually playing to enthusiastic audiences in even the remotest parts of the country – and his socio-politically topical messages that have earned him the massive place he holds in people’s hearts today. He is without question, the biggest Zimbabwean artist presently both there and abroad.  In the past years, his popularity has risen exponentially in the Southern African region, indeed the entire continent and the world at large. Together with his long-standing band, The Black Spirits, he regularly ventures across borders into Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique. In the past two years, the group has toured the UK, USA, New Zealand, Australia and Europe extensively.

Tuku has, in fact, been so innovative that his music is now widely referred to as ‘Tuku Music’ being quite distinct from any other Zimbabwean styles. This is not to say that there are no recognisable influences in his work – the traditional forms of the mbira, the South African mbaqanga style, and the popular Zimbabwean music style called jiti, all affect it deeply  – but these, like katekwe, the traditional drumming patterns of his clan, the Korekore, are very much absorbed into an art which is now indubitably his own.



Riky Rick is a rapper, producer/entertainer based in Johannesburg, South Africa. His latest album, Family Values, was certified platinum by RISA and was in the Top 20 African albums of 2015. He has won numerous awards for his music, most notably the MTV AFRICA AWARD FOR BEST MUSIC VIDEO, a Loerie Award for his short film, Exodus and two awards at the South African Hip Hop Awards.

Born in 1987, Riky Rick’s music style has been influenced by early Kwaito and Hip Hop. Borrowing from these influences, he has managed to carve a lane for himself as one of South Africa’s most electrifying performers and rap artists that the continent has ever seen. His raw and eclectic style has found the perfect synergy between South African township life and international appeal.

Beyond music, Riky is one of the most loved and respected personal brands, lending his face and creativity to major campaigns for Ben Sherman, Puma, Russian Bear Vodka and Woolworths. He recently won Most Stylish Male in performing Art at the prestigious South African Style Awards held in November 2016.



Born in Kulani Village, Giyani, Limpopo Province in the year 1962, Papa Penny, who was too poor to attend school, went to Johannesburg to look for a job. After a period in the mines, his search for a job led him to a recording studio where he was working as a cleaner. At this studio in Johannesburg in 1994, Afro-beat producer Joseph Shirimani was approached by Papa Penny. He just sang a song for Shirimane and that’s when he heard this unusual voice and melodies.

Together, Shirimani and the cleaning man wound up cutting several songs, including ‘Shaka Bundu’. That song, an example of Tsonga (or Shangaan) Afro-disco, updated traditional African music with synthesizers, electric guitars and Disco or House beats. Released in 1994, ‘Shaka Bundu’ went on to sell 250,000 copies in South Africa and made Papa Penny a star.

Now, 23 years later, the song, along with a whole album of Papa Penny music, has also been unleashed in the States – much to the surprise of the man who sang on it. Currently, Papa Penny has a reality show on Mzansi Magic, called Ahee Papa Penny.



When Bongeziwe Mabandla surfaced with his debut album in 2012, he was hailed as the new face of Afro-Folk, effortlessly able to entwine Xhosa lyrics with traditional music and folk stylings to create something uniquely captivating.

That the Eastern Cape artist can move into territory occupied by Africa’s most gifted singer-songwriters (Baaba Maal; Ismaël Lô for instance) is visible in his second album, 2017’s Mangaliso, his first through a new deal with Universal Music. The 10-track record is a sumptuous listen that spotlights Mabandla’s artistic growth into one of the most purposeful and gifted artists working in South Africa today.

In support of Mangaliso, Mabandla is playing live – this time augmented by Correia-Paolo on guitar and samples as well as Mike Wright (Zebra & Giraffe) on drums. Watching the trio perform is nothing short of captivating and it’s no surprise to find that Mabandla’s international bookings for 2017 are gathering pace. Already, he’s travelled extensively over the past few years, playing Primavera Sound in Barcelona and Africa Festival in Germany. Mabandla has played all local festivals and also toured Australia, Asia and Canada, substantially expanding his audience through a series of critically-acclaimed live performances

Born in Tsolo, a rural town in the Eastern Cape, Bongeziwe Mabandla displayed all the signs of a passion for art and music from an early age. After studying drama at AFDA, a film television and performance school in Johannesburg, his 2012 debut Umlilo earned two South African Music Awards nominations in 2013, for Best Newcomer and Best Adult African album.



Johnny Cradle is a Johannesburg, South Africa based three-piece band. Laz provides the DJ scratch samples and FX, Tebogo J Mosane drums the drums and backs the vocals, Sakie leads the vocals, bass the moog and plays the keys.

With roots in Mdantsane and Umtata in the Eastern Cape and Ga-Rankuwa in Gauteng, it’s no wonder these 80s grown-ups have a diverse influence behind their township slang Xhosa/ English lyrics driven by heavy bass, almost Hip-Hop electronica drum rhythms, DJ cuts reminiscent of golden era Hip-Hop and Bluesy Rock electric guitars.

Johnny Cradle’s self-titled debut album was released in 2017 and shows off the trio’s knack for deep haunting back beats, landscape guitar lines, bullying moog infused bass lines and socially conscious manifestos. Taut and lean, Cradle’s debut boasts a collection of songs that are cerebral as much as they are danceable.



Bye Beneco is a SAMA nominated Indie band from Johannesburg. Their sound has stemmed from a multitude of musical styles.

This eclectic dream-Pop ensemble has a magnetic energy that elevates their music. The sound stems from various styles, with evocative vocals at the essence of their songwriting.

Forever changing and evolving, the band refers to their opus as somewhat of a musical ADD with Africa being their biggest influence. Bye Beneco have recently released their latest single, ‘Jungle Drums’ accompanied by a new music video. Their new EP, ‘Ghetto Disko’ is out now!



Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness (BCUC) moves the audience – both physically and emotionally – with an explosion of passion, funk and rhythm. With their music, straight from the ancestors, BCUC wants to question the common worldview on modern Africa. The basic ingredients of BCUC’s sound are the traditional whistle, percussion and a rocking guitar. Topped by the raw combative voice of Jovi, flowing rap by Luja and Hloni, the sweet and clear vocals of Kgomotso, and chants of all four vocals together. They baptised their unique sound as ‘indigenous Funky Soul’.

BCUC takes the audience along on an intriguing journey to the secret world of modern Africa. They want to rectify western assumptions and show the post-apartheid South Africa from a young, contemporary, different perspective. In 11 languages, BCUC discusses the harsh reality of Africa where especially the unemployed worker forever stays at the bottom of the food chain. And also, they tap into the elusiveness of the spirit world of ancestors that fascinates them. Africa portrayed by BCUC is not poor at all, but rich in tradition, rituals and beliefs.

“We see ourselves as modern freedom fighters who have to tell the story of Soweto’s past, present and future to the world.” – Jovi Nkosi, singer of BCUC



Zoë Modiga who released her debut, Yellow: The Novel, in 2017, was born in Overport, Durban and raised in Pietermaritzburg. Her love for music at a very young age encouraged her to attend the National School of the Arts in Braamfontein, Johannesburg where she studied classical piano, clarinet and vocals. She is currently completing her degree in Jazz vocals at the South African College of Music at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Zoë was in the TOP 8 of The Voice SA, Season 1, sang “Amazing Grace” under the film scoring of Kyle Shepherd in Oscar nominated movie, Noem My Skollie and won the SAMRO Overseas Scholarship Competition for singing in 2015.

Over the past few years, with some experience behind her, this singer-songwriter’s talent has opened a number of doors in the music industry. She has featured on tracks by The Kiffness; the Frank Paco Art Ensemble and Seba Kaapstad. Zoe has been fortunate enough to be part of celebrated festivals such as the Aardklop Festival, Artscape Youth Jazz Festival, the UCT Jazz Festival, Joy of Jazz, the Amersfoort Jazz Festival and The Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

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.



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.

Fifth Annual International Jazz Day


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

Fourth International Jazz Day


UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock Announce Fourth Annual International Jazz Day


Press Release

Performance and outreach programs to take place worldwide on April 30, recognizing jazz music as a universal language of freedom.

International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert in Global Host City Paris, France, will be a highlight of UNESCO’s 70th Anniversary Celebration

Paris and Washington, D.C. – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock are pleased to announce the fourth annual International Jazz Day, which will be celebrated around the world on April 30, 2015. Paris, France has been selected to serve as the 2015 Global Host City. Presented each year on April 30th in partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, International Jazz Day encourages and highlights the power of jazz as a force for freedom and creativity, promoting intercultural dialogue through respect and understanding, uniting people from all corners of the globe. The celebration is recognized on the official calendars of both UNESCO and the United Nations, and this year will be a significant part of UNESCO’s 70th Anniversary celebration.

According to Director-General Bokova, “Jazz means dialogue, reaching out to others, bringing everyone on board. It means respecting the human rights and dignity of every woman and man, no matter their background. It means understanding others, letting them speak, listening in the spirit of respect. All this is why we join together to celebrate jazz – this music of freedom is a force for peace, and its messages have never been more vital than they are today, in times of turbulence, in the year when we celebrate the 70th anniversary of UNESCO. This All-Star Concert will be a major moment in a turning point year.”

The 2015 International Jazz Day celebration will kick off in Paris, France on April 30th with a daylong series of jazz education programs, performances, and community outreach. An evening All-Star Global Concert at UNESCO Headquarters will feature stellar performances by Dee Dee Bridgewater, A Bu (China), Igor Butman (Russia), Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau, Ibrahim Maalouf (Lebanon), Hugh Masekela (South Africa), Marcus Miller, Guillaume Perret (France), Dianne Reeves, Claudio Roditi (Brazil), Wayne Shorter, Dhafer Youssef (Tunisia) and many other internationally acclaimed artists, with further details to be announced shortly. John Beasley will serve as the evening’s Musical Director.

“On April 30th, there will be a worldwide celebration honoring jazz,” said Ambassador Hancock. “Every single country on all seven continents will shine the spotlight on jazz for 24 hours straight, sharing the beauty, passion, and ethics of the music. Educators, visual artists, writers, philosophers, intellectuals, dancers, musicians of all ages and skill levels, photographers, filmmakers, videographers, bloggers and jazz enthusiasts will participate in Jazz Day by openly exchanging ideas through performances, education programs, and other creative endeavors.”

The concert from Paris will be streamed live worldwide via the UNESCO, U.S. Department of State, and Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz websites. Daytime events in Paris will include master classes, roundtable discussions, improvisational workshops, and education programs led by world-renowned jazz musicians, educators, and diplomats. In addition to the All-Star Concert, multiple evening concerts and performances will take place across the city of Paris.

Given its legendary place in jazz history, Paris is an ideal choice to serve as the International Jazz Day Global Host City. The city’s major figures in jazz include guitarist Django Reinhardt, vocalists Edith Piaf and Josephine Baker, violinists Jean-Luc Ponty and Stéphane Grappelli, and many more. Today, Paris continues to play an important role in the ongoing development of jazz as a musical art form.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said, “Jazz has always been at home in Paris, a city of culture, music and creativity. I am particularly thrilled that our city will be hosting and welcoming International Jazz Day in 2015, a year which will, I hope, reaffirm the fundamental values of fraternity and solidarity. Paris is honored to welcome the most talented musicians in the world on this day. And I am even more happy that this International Jazz Day will allow Paris to be at the heart of the celebrations of the 70th Anniversary of UNESCO. By emphasizing the educational role of culture, International Jazz Day fully illustrates the objectives and the convictions of this essential organization.”

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is once again working with UNESCO and its field offices, national commissions, networks, Associated Schools, universities and institutes, public radio and public television stations, and NGOs to ensure their involvement and participation in International Jazz Day 2015. Additionally, in countries throughout the world, libraries, schools, universities, performing arts venues, community centers, artists, and arts organizations of all disciplines will be celebrating the day through presentations, concerts, and other jazz-focused programs. As in past years, it is anticipated that programs will be confirmed in all 196 UN and UNESCO member countries and on every continent.

Tom Carter, President of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, said, “We are most grateful to the leadership and citizens of Paris for welcoming and hosting International Jazz Day in their magnificent city. As we approach our 4th celebration, International Jazz Day has become a worldwide movement and global phenomenon. Reaching over 2 billion people through performances and educational programs, we are proud and honored that Jazz Day is celebrated in all UNESCO Member States.”

The designation of International Jazz Day is intended to bring together communities, schools and other groups the world over to celebrate and learn more about the art of jazz, its roots, and its impact. Ultimately, International Jazz Day seeks to foster intercultural dialogue and raise public awareness about the role of jazz music in promoting the universal values of UNESCO’s mandate. As a language of freedom, jazz promotes social inclusion, enhancing understanding and tolerance, and nurturing creativity.

Giants of Africa Headline CTIJF


Tuku, Masekela Billed for Cape Town International Jazz Festival

Showbiz Reporter

Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi and Hugh Masekela, two giants of African music will join forces for a performance at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival taking place from March 27 to 28.

The long-time friends who are bonded by their passion for heritage restoration in Africa and their love for traditional Southern African music will re-interpret some of their best-known songs at the sold out festival.

Tuku, who will first perform in Bulawayo on March 20 before travelling to Cape Town the week after will join South Africa’s Donald, Ringo Madlingozi, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Beatenberg, Madala Kunene, Mahotella Queens, Naima Kay, Sipho Mabuse, Banz Oester and the Rainmakers, Claude Cozens Trio, Courtney Pine (UK), Sons of Kemet (UK) and Dirty Loops (Sweden) among other groups.

Affectionately referred to as “Africa’s Grandest Gathering” the Cape Town International Jazz Festival is the largest music event in sub-Saharan Africa, famous for delivering a star-studded line up. The festival which is held annually on the last weekend of March or the first weekend of April boasts five stages and over 40 artistes performing over two nights.

The festival recognised as the fourth largest jazz festival in the world and the largest jazz festival on the African continent used to be called the Cape Town North Sea Jazz Festival due to its association with the North Sea Festival in the Netherlands.

It has grown since it first started in 2000, and as a result, attendance has also grown from 14, 000 concert goers in 2000 to 40,000 concert goers last year.

Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival 2014


Everything you need to know about the Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival

Children: Under 6 are free. Must be accompanied by an adult

Pensioners: Tickets are R50 at the gate. Please provide Pensioners Card or ID.


1pm Doors Open

2pm The Soul Brothers

3.15pm Jeremy Loops

4.30pm Laurie Levine & Josie Field

5.30pm Beatenberg

6.30pm Tsepo Tshola

7.45pm Hugh Masekela

Directions from the N1 South to the Soweto Cricket Oval

. Turn Right onto N17 (signs for Johannesburg / Soweto)

. After 3.6 km at the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Klipspruit Valley Rd

. After 3.1 km at the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and Stay on Klipspruit Valley Rd

. After 1.6 km at the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and Stay on Klipspruit Valley Rd

. After 550 m turn Right onto Chris Harni Rd / M68

. After 650 m at the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Ntuli Street

. After 350 m turn Left onto Vundla Street

. After 900 m turn Left onto Gumede Street

. The Soweto Cricket Oval will be on your Right.

Directions from the M1 South to the Soweto Cricket Oval

. Take the M1 to Chris Hani Rd / Old Potchefstroom Rd (M68) in Johannesburg South. Take Exit 67 from N12 / N12 Southern Bypass

. Continue to follow Chris Harni Rd / M68 for 7.7km

. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Ntuli Street

. After 350m turn Left onto Vundla Street

. After 900 m turn Left onto Gumede Street

. The Soweto Cricket Oval is located on the Right

Bra Hugh Plans to Create a Rainbow Vibe, Soweto

Photograph by Gallo Images

The New Age

Fungayi Kanyuchi

Photograph by Gallo Images

World-acclaimed jazz artist Hugh Masekela has roped in his jamming buddies from yesteryear – Tshepo Tshola and the Soul Brothers – to grace the second annual Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival in Soweto.

The festival will also see Beatenberg, Jeremy Loops, Laurie Levine and Josie Field strum their stuff before Hugh Masekela takes to the stage to share a body of music that stretches over half a century of creative input.

Explaining the inspiration behind this initiative, Masekela said: “As Africans we don’t really know who we are.

“We are the only people that imitate other cultures, and as a result we don’t sell anything, yet there is no other group that owns a richer cultural diversity of music, dance, language, architecture and history than Africa.

“We have been discouraged from being ourselves and we believe our heritage is backward, primitive, heathen and barbaric so much so that the people who inculcated this thinking in us don’t even need to work on us any more. We have our own people working on us on that.”

On the heritage festival concept, he said: “It came from wanting to recapture the old times, when there was mutual admiration between different tribal groups, when they gathered on weekends to sing and dance.

“We would then have people from the suburbs come and join in and this is the rainbow vibe I intend to create for the festival.” he said.

Headline sponsor Assupol’s Mariëtte Oosthuizen said: “Music, entertainment and good food are an integral part of this inventive festival and we are both honoured and excited to be part of it again.

“It showcases some of our brilliant local talent, which promises an even more memorable experience than last year’’

The festival, which started off last year under the theme Sekunjalo, takes place at Soweto Cricket Oval on November 29.

Bra Hugh heading to Soweto

Photograph by Gallo Images

The New Age
TNA Reporter

Photograph by Gallo Images

World-renowned jazz legend Hugh Masekela returns to Soweto with his second annual Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival.

Following the success of last year’s festival, this year pays homage to South Africa’s rich cultural heritage.

The star-studded line-up includes Tshepo Tshola, The Soul Brothers, pop trio Beatenberg, guitarist Jeremy Loops, folk singers Laurie Levine and Josie Field.

Bra Hugh is a passionate advocate for the nurturing of cultural heritage among the youth.

At the recent Hugh Masekela inaugural lecture at the University of Johannesburg, he emphasised the importance of appreciating one’s own heritage.

“We are becoming a society that imitates other cultures, yet we have the biggest diversity of heritage. It is high time that we celebrate that,” he said.

Not only is Bra Hugh a renowned solo artist who played an important part in forming a cultural voice against the apartheid regime, his iconic status in the musical arts has led him to become a critically acclaimed global brand.

Hay Festival, review: ‘the George Formby of South Africa’

Photograph by Clara Molden

Hugh Masekela, now 75, shows he has lost none of his passion in a golden performance at the 2014 Hay Festival

The Telegraph
Martin Chilton

Photograph by Clara Molden

Hugh Masekela grew up with all kinds of American musical influences as a teenager, from Benny Goodman to Lionel Hampton. But he also had some British influences, too, including George Formby, a Lancashire ukulele player, singer and comic actor who made his start in musical halls. Formby might seem a surprising role model until you see Masekela perform. The South African jazz musician is a born showman.

Masekela sings with a wild abandon; he sent flugelhorn lines plunging and soaring; he delighted the audience at the Hay Festival with a string of anecdotes, jokes and social and political statements. It was very entertaining.

Masekela turned 75 last month and the story of how, aged 13, he was inspired to become a musician after seeing the film Young Man with a Horn, in which Kirk Douglas plays a jazz trumpeter based on Bix Beiderbecke, is pretty well known. But, more than six decades on, he has lost none of his passion for music.

His patter was sometimes schmaltzy – “thank you, you people of Hay-on-Wye, we are going to make you go on tour with us from now” – but it also came with statements that reminded you of the courageous battles this long-time anti-apartheid campaigner had fought. “Humans have behaved very badly towards one another,” he said. “Let’s cut out all this colour thing and all the bull—- that goes with it.”

Masekela, who first came to England in 1961, when he studied trumpet at the Guildhall School, went off on an enjoyable riff about actually being from Inverness (“my real name is Gregory Scotty McGgregor the third . . . junior”) but the patter did not overwhelm the inimitable mix of American bebop idioms, rhythm and blues and South African traditions in the music.
There was a smashing version of Masekela’s own song Stimela, about the trains that carry migrant workers from their homes. He evoked the sound of the train in a piercing scream but you could sense the implication of human tragedy underneath, and his gravely voice, so guttural at the lower range, is still special.

A mention, too, for the band, whose skill gives Masekela the foundation to be at such magisterial ease. Masekela must know what a talent he has in Cameron John Ward, whose stunning stylistic range and sweet guitar licks were such a feature of the show. It didn’t stop the grand old man teasing the youngster, though. Masekela told the crowd, when introducing Ward, that they must not tell anyone they had seen Ward playing: “because he is on probation from the criminal school for boys and the police and his mother are still looking for him”.

The great thing about the Hay Festival is its variety. As Masekela was delighting fans in the Tata Tent, a mere 30 second walk away, in the Telegraph Tent, The Super Furry Animals founder Gruff Rhys was delighting audiences with a show of incredible imagination – while wearing a furry wolf head.

There was an irresistible sunny optimism to Masekela’s concert, with the audience either dancing in their seats or in the aisles, but for all the showmanship, it was his unmistakable golden flugelhorn tone that was so memorable.