I just got word that the great Hugh Masekela passed away. This week we revisit a 2013 interview with him.
Hugh Masekela is the most well known jazz musician from Africa. His first big hit was in 1968 and he has sold millions of albums, won multiple Grammys and worked with everyone from Stevie Wonder to Dizzy Gillespie. Fresh off a tour with Paul Simon, he and his band are super-refined, with perfect vocal harmonies, deep grooves, and inspired improvisations. Masekela is considered a legend of South African Music and the apartheid struggle, but that’s not how he see’s it.
I got to spend sometime backstage with him and now so do you!
Here’s one quote from the interview:
“I never had a career, I had an obsession with music. And my obsession with it, and maybe a little gift that I had, threw me into the area, but my aim, even when I came overseas, was to learn and to study and everything else is a coincidence. But I didn’t plan to make it for myself. If you look at anybody who is out there to make it for themselves they self-destruct. They become very big and then they self-destruct. As long as you’ve got the “me” thing in your head you’re doomed.” – Hugh Masekela
This is a remaster of a broadcast I did in 2012 when I had just returned from almost a month in Mali making field and studio recordings. Very special stuff:
Here’s the original intro:
I’m back from the Sahara, and, as promised, have a ton of recordings to share with you. This special show was originally broadcast on WKCR on 89.9 FM-NY and features rough mixes of studio recordings with up and coming guitarist and pop star Oumar Konate, Griot Royalty Noura Mint Seymali from Mauritania recording exclusively for us in her flat in Timbuktu, artists from Niger informally jamming in their tents and the Festival Au Desert and much, much more. We’ll hear this Takamba band in the photo above- they use a car battery and a PA and the flute ends up sounding just like Jimi Hendrix…