Hugh Masekela Biography
Hugh Masekela whose full name is Hugh Ramopolo Masekela was born on 4th April 1939 in Witbank, South Africa. He is a South African trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer, and singer.
Hugh Masekela Age | Date Of Birth
On 4 April 1939 Hugh Ramopolo Masekela, South African musician, was born in Witbank, South Africa. He died on 23rd January 2018.
Hugh Masekela Family
This is what the family had to say upon Hugh’s death;
It is with profound sorrow that the family of Ramapolo Hugh Masekela announces his passing. After a protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer, he passed peacefully in Johannesburg, South Africa, surrounded by his family.
A loving father, brother, grandfather and friend, our hearts beat with profound loss. Hugh’s global and activist contribution to and participation in the areas of music, theatre, and the arts, in general, is contained in the minds and memory of millions across 6 continents and we are blessed and grateful to be part of a life and ever-expanding legacy of love, sharing and vanguard creativity that spans the time and space of 6 decades. Rest in power beloved, you are forever in our hearts.
We will, in due course, release details of memorial and burial services. Hugh Masekela was someone who always engaged robustly with the press on musical and social-political issues. We laud the press for respecting his privacy through his convalescence, and during this, our time of grief. Our gratitude to all and sundry for your condolences and support.
Released on behalf of the Masekela family by Dreamcatcher
Hugh Masekela Wife
Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela’s wife, was also known as Mama Africa. She was a South African actress, musician, songwriter, civil rights activist, and a united nation goodwill ambassador. She introduced the “afro-look” style as she used to perform in public with unkempt hair. She gained recognition after getting deep into music genres such as; jazz, world music, and Afro-pop. Makeba was also a strong advocate against the white-minority and apartheid government of South Africa.
Hugh Masekela Education
As a black man, South African music schools were closed to Masekela; he was forced to go abroad to continue his musical training. He studied at London’s Guildhall School of Music and received a scholarship from American calypso star and human rights activist Harry Belafonte to the Manhattan School of Music, in New York City, which he attended from 1960 to 1964.
Staying on the U.S., Masekela also worked with Belafonte’s Clara Music and arranged the music on several albums for his then-wife, African folksinger Miriam Makeba, from whom he was divorced in 1966.
In 1964 Masekela teamed with fellow student Stewart Levine to found Chisa Records. The Emancipation of Hugh Masekela was the first of 11 albums the duo produced. In 1968 Masekela became one of the first African artists to pierce America’s pop music world when his song “Grazing in the Grass” topped Billboard’s singles chart for two weeks.
Written in the style of mbaqanga —a combination of traditional Zulu music and black American pop—“Grazing in the Grass” clearly reflected Masekela’s African heritage. Masekela toured parts of Africa in 1973, playing with a variety of African musicians. In Ghana, he met Nigerian “Afrobeat”
Hugh Masekela Death
Masekela died in Johannesburg on the early morning of 23 January 2018 from prostate cancer and died at the age of 79 years.
Hugh Masekela Career
He began singing and playing piano at the age of 14. He got his trumpet fro, Archbishop Trevor Huddleston. Huddleston asked the leader of the then Johannesburg “Native” Municipal Brass Band, Uncle Sauda, to teach Masekela the rudiments of trumpet playing.
In 1956 he joined Alfred Herbert’s African Jazz Revue. The agony, conflict, and exploitation South Africa faced during the 1950s and 1960s inspired and influenced him to make music and also spread political change. He was an artist who in his music vividly portrayed the struggles and sorrows, as well as the joys and passions of his country. His music protested about apartheid, slavery, government; the hardships individuals were living. Masekela reached a large population that also felt oppressed due to the country’s situation.
Hugh Masekela Songs
- Grazing in the Grass
- Bring Him Back Home
- Coal Train
- Bajabula Bonke
- Ibala Lam
- Thuma Mina
- The Boy’s Doin’ It
- African Secret Society
- Ha Lese Le Di Khanna
- Old People, Old Folks
- Ha Le Se
- Song of Love
- Soweto Blues
- Mace and Grenades
- Been Such a Long Time Going
- Heaven in You
- The Joke of Life
- Bo Masekela
- No Woman No Cry
Hugh Masekela Awards
- 2010: Order of Ikhamanga during the South African National Orders Ceremony
- 2007: African Music Legend Award at the Ghana Music Awards
- 2005: Lifetime Achievement Award during Channel O Music Video Award
- 2002: International Award of the year during the BBC Radio Jazz Awards
Hugh Masekela Photo
Hugh Masekela Twitter
Hugh Masekela Instagram
Hugh Masekela Net Worth
Hugh Masekela Interview
Can a non-verbal instrument like a trumpet be political?
No. I don’t think any musician ever thinks about making a statement. I think everybody goes into music loving it. I just came from South Africa, a place that had been in a perpetual uprising since 1653, so the uprising had become a way of life in our culture and we grew up with rallies and strikes and marches and boycotts. Politics was no different to us from how it was to the Irish, except we were fighting real oppression instead of a racial or religious war.
It started in 1653, so I grew up with it and at the time I got international notice I was from South Africa, and my resource was South African music, so it would have been very awkward not to mention the circumstances in whatever I was doing, because I came from those people and I sourced from them. But then by the time it gets translated by editors, scribes, authors, people like yourself, it ends up with a trumpet making speeches in Trafalgar Square. But the trumpet is an inanimate object.
Can you describe what it was like to be a young black man growing up in apartheid South Africa?
By the time we grew up, millions of tricks against the establishment were there in place already. What people don’t know about oppression is that the oppressor works much harder. You always grew up being told you were not smart enough or not fast enough, but we all lived from the time we were children to beat the system.
There was one occasion when the apartheid government tried to invite you back as an “honorary white”. How did that feel?
It was not only insulting, but it was like the height of comedy, right out of the fucking Marx Brothers. The apartheid people were actors and they had to act out their part in their beliefs every day. That’s why we always saw them as being comedic.
Have you forgiven white people in South Africa?
I don’t think I have the power to forgive. I think the most difficult thing that has had to happen in South Africa for the previously disadvantaged communities is they had to reconcile that the oppressor has been enriched and the establishment is now making five or 10 times more profit than they were during the time the economic embargo was on them.
There’s never in history been a people who have ever said to other people: “Hey, sorry we made so much fucking money off your backs. Here’s 500 trillion to show you how sorry we are for enslaving you.”
The inequalities are still there. We’re not being harassed by police at night or being arrested for stupid things, but there are inequalities. And life is not an act, we’re not in a movie.
Do you think the African National Congress has lived up to its promise after 18 years in government?
I don’t think anybody has ever been able to live up to what they promised. I don’t know a government that has ever been successful at that because once they get into power, things change and the world is controlled also by business now. I’m not expecting any miracles.
Corruption is everywhere, man. It’s in England; all those MPs who stole money and lied about their houses. It’s an international malady and there’s no reason why South Africans wouldn’t have done it .
Do you think there will be a traumatizing effect for South Africa when Nelson Mandela dies?
Does he have a special magic hold on South Africa, so that everybody will die when he dies? He’s a human being who became who he became because of the people of South Africa. I wish him good health and I hope that he’s not going to be in too much pain.
You’ve said you squandered $50m over the years?
I’m the kind of person who goes on with life. I was one of the smallest benders of the era. But I’ve gone on with my life. This was more than 40 years ago, you know.
You don’t dwell on the days of taking drugs such as marijuana and cocaine?
No, because I’m not as anal, I guess, as most of the media are. You have to remember I’m self-employed. So the mundane things that the press and people basically occupy themselves with, I’ve no time for. I live a creative life and I have a very happy family life.
Do you have any regrets?
I don’t have anything to regret. I think people who have regrets are people who think they can relive their lives. You only see each day once.
Do you believe in God?
I don’t criticize any people who believe. I don’t believe in organized religion and don’t have time for it because I’m in music all the time. What I do is very spiritual because I do it religiously, 24 hours a day. If there is a God, he should be worshipped as we worship him every day because when we’re not on the road, we’re in the studio.
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