Tuesday, January 23, 2018

HUGH MASEKELA #MusicLegends




Born on 4, April 1939 as Hugh Ramapolo Masekela in KwaGuqa Township, Witbank, South Africa to a health inspector
father (Thomas Selena Masekela) and a social worker mother (Pauline Masekela). 

A music legend in full rights, Hugh Masekela is South Africa's most renown hornsman of all time whose musical compositions and proficiency on the trumpet, cornet, flute etc., stood him out of the crowd at a very young age. 



Widely known as South Africa's father of Jazz music, Hugh Masekela's compositions which he inadvertently structured as anti-apartheid songs did drum its point home and declared him a world-class genius. Hugh's popular hits like Bring Him Back Home, Promise of a Future, Grazing in the Grass (which in 1968 became a U.S #1 pop hit) and Soweto Blues became anthems in their own standing during South Africa's Apartheid regime.


Raised by his grandmother (who ran an illegal drinking spot for miners), Hugh's journey into music began at a very young age, say around 9, when he learned how to play the piano, he also around this point in his life began to sing for customers at his grandmother's bar. 



After watching the then popular movie Young Man with a Horn at age 14, Hugh became determined to become a trumpeter and picked took this up seriously. While in St. Martin's School during his secondary education days, Hugh was gifted a trumpet by world music icon Louis Armstrong and this priceless gift was presented to him by Trevor Huddleston (Archbishop) and Chaplain of his school with specific instruction for the then leader of Johannesburg Municipal Brass Band (Native), Uncle Sauda to coach Hugh to being a good trumpeter.


Hugh Masekela quickly mastered the trumpet and other horn instruments to become a voice to be reckoned with during South Africa's horrendous Apartheid regime. 


Hugh Masekela's musical career began to blossom from the 1950s with his active involvement in the polity of the day using his music as a driving force, his career peaked in 1958 with the visit of the then globally popular Manhattan Brothers to South Africa on tour of the African sub-region. He was discovered to be one of the best hornsmen in the country and was contracted to play in the orchestra which produced the South African musical movie King Kong which premiered and had received global recognition.

Along with  Johnny Gertze, Makhaya Ntshoko, Dollar Brand and Kippie Moeketsi, Hugh in 1959 formed the Jazz Epistles and this stage in the young, Masekela's life became its changing point as he drew a following countrywide that pushed him on to a greater height of fame. 

In 1960, following a great national unrest in the country, Hugh with the help of friends abroad secured his admission into the Guildhall School of Music in London. Hugh Masekela through the journey of his life married South African Queen of Songs, Mariam Makeba in 1964 in a rather very short-lived matrimony that lasted only 2-year as they hurried got divorced afterward.


Hugh Masekela has performed around the world and his songs have made hits globally with his 1967 Jazz special Up, Up and Away which made it to the #1 place on the U.S Charts followed the next year by Grazing in the Grass which stood at the #1 spot on the U.S Pop Charts and grossed over four million copies in sales. 

His 1987 super hit Bring Him Back Home began a powerful Anti-Apartheid anthem which was tailored to push for the release of the Madiba Nelson Mandela from the hold of the Apartheid South African Government of the day.

After 3 other consecutive marriages after, Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba, namely, to:

Chris Calloway
Jabu Mbatha
Elinam Cofie
Hugh Masekela after a long-spanning successful musical career died of Cancer at the age of 78 in the early morning hours of January 23rd, 2018.