The Jazz Café and The Africa Centre UK are celebrating what would have been legendary South African jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela’s 80th birthday in the company of composer and bandleader Etuk Ubong.
In 1960, as a
staunch anti-apartheid campaigner, Hugh Masekela
found himself in exile in the United States. It was here that Miles Davis
advised the young trumpeter, ‘you’re just going to be a statistic if you
play jazz, but if you put in some of the stuff you remember from South Africa,
you’ll be different from everybody.’
The resulting fusion of American jazz and African township rhythms propelled Masekela to the forefront of anti-apartheid’s musical mission and took him to number one in the American pop charts in 1968 with Grazing In The Grass selling over 4 million copies.
“My biggest obsession is to show Africans and the world who the people of Africa really are.” – Hugh Masekela
His vibrant trumpet and flugelhorn solos have been featured in pop, R&B, disco, Afropop and of course jazz. He’s had American and international hits such as the afro-disco bomb, Don’t Go Lose It Baby, anti-apartheid songs such as Soweto Blues and Bring Him Back Home worked with bands around the world, and played with African, African-American, European and various American musicians during a stellar career.
This ability to straddle both
the frontline of activism through music and achieve commercial success has
rarely been emulated with such universal appeal. Indeed, when he died at the
age of 78 he was revered as South Africa’s father of jazz and a national treasure.
Having issued more than 40 albums across his career and created music that existed on the front line of popular music and political thought for nearly 6 decades, his final album was No Borders, in 2016. Among his many awards was South Africa’s highest, the Order of Ikhamanga.
On Thursday, 4 April, Etuk Ubong and his band will be performing music from the extensive back catalogue and, most importantly, celebrating the life of bra Hugh Masekela.
Venue: Jazz Cafe, London
Tickets are available via The Jazz Café website.
Samuel Akinfolarin Bamidele – drums
Ayodele Agbabiaka – bass
Samuel Temitope – keyboard
Oluwaseun Dabiri – percussion
Samson Oluyemi – woodblock
Eddy Segun Michael – baritone saxophone
Opeyemi Omotayo – trumpet
Jeffry John – tenor saxophone
Toyin Adetokunbo – dancer /vocal
Olaide Ajala – dancer/vocal
Etuk Ubong – vocal/trumpet/flugelhorn
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