Hugh Masekela Hugh Masekela was well-known for his jazz compositions and anti-apartheid songs like “Soweto Blues” and “Bring Him Back Home.” He was a South African trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, vocalist, and, above all, a composer. Masekela was regarded as the “iconic of South African jazz.”
Hugh Masekela Biography
Hugh Ramapolo Masekela was born on April 4, 1939, in the South African township of KwaGuqa in Witbank (now known as Emalahleni). Parents Pauline Bowers Masekela, a social worker, and Thomas Selena Masekela, a health inspector and sculptor. Barbara Masekela, his younger sister, is a poet, an educator, moreover, an ANC activist.
Hugh started playing the trumpet at a tender age. In other words, he bought his first trumpet from Archbishop Trevor Huddleston’s music shop. Above all, Trevor introduced Masekela to the Native Municipal Brass Band, where he was taught the rudiments of playing the trumpet. Hugh was a fast learner, so he joined the Huddleston Jazz Band, South Africa’s first youth orchestra. Hugh received one of Louis Armstrong’s trumpets as a present when he learned about this band through his friend Huddleston.
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Masekela joined the orchestra of the Todd Matshikiza-penned musical King Kong after the Manhattan Brothers’ 1958 tour of South Africa. Above all, the first South African big-budget theatrical hit, starring Nathan Mdledle of the Manhattan Brothers and Miriam Makeba,. It toured the nation for a full year on a sold-out schedule. Later, the musical spent two years in the West End of London.
Hugh Masekela Wife
Masekela married activist and singer Miriam Makeba from 1964 to 1966. He later married Chris Calloway (Cab Calloway’s daughter), Jabu Mbatha, and Elinam Cofie. He was the father of an American television host, sports commentator, actor, and singer named Sal Masekela.
Hugh Masekela Music And Awards
His music was a form of protest against slavery, apartheid, the government, and most importantly, the struggles that people were facing. Due to the state of the nation, Masekela was able to reach a sizable audience who also experienced oppression.
Masekela performed songs that were incredibly similar to his own life. Masekela’s music portrays the suffering, violence, and exploitation South Africa endured in the 1950s and 1960s. as well as by the need to propagate political change.
He played and toured alongside famous musicians like Paul Simon, Miriam Makeba, Black Mambazo, etc. Hugh had three Grammy Nominations for Best Contemporary Pop Performance – Instrumental (Grazing in the Grass), Best Musical Cast Show Album (Sarafina! the Music of Liberation), and Best World Music Album (Jabulani).
MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMAs): Legend Award–2016
Ghana Music Awards: African Music Legend award–2007
Channel O Music Video Awards: Lifetime Achievement Award–2005
- BBC Radio Jazz Awards: International Award of the Year–2002
- Tony Award for Best Score (Musical)–Nominated for Broadway’s 1988 with music and lyrics collaborator Mbongeni Ngema, for Sarafina
University of York: Honorary Doctorate in Music- 2014
Hugh Masekela Death
Masekela, who was 78 years old, died from prostate cancer in the early hours of January 23 in Johannesburg.