Hugh Masekela - Revival (Sudáfrica, 2005)
El músico de jazz, Hugh Masekela, nació en 1939 en Wittbank, Sudáfrica. Empezó su carrera musical como miembro de la Huddleston Jazz Band, pero Trevor Huddleston fue deportado a causa de su posición abiertamente anti-apartheid. Masekela abandonó Sudáfrica en 1961. Su carrera despegó verdaderamente en EE.UU. Su mezcla de pop/jazz africano, tuvo tanto éxito que fundó su propio sello discográfico, Chisa, a mediados de los años sesenta. Su canción “Grazing in the Grass” de 1968 dio la campanada. Más tarde, colaboraría con artistas de la talla de Fela Kuti y Paul Simon
AFRICAN MUSIC LEGEND
HUGH MASEKELA’S REVIVAL DRAWS INSPIRATION FROM LEADING MASTERS OF KWAITO MUSIC
“Kwaito is going to be around for a long time. It’s going to become an integral part of South African mainstream music. It’s the core of the feeling of today’s township youth.”
– Hugh Masekela
South African music legend and world music pioneer Hugh Masekela defies categories once again on his new CD, Revival ( HUCD 3093 ), to be released by Heads Up International on May 24, 2005. Still riding high on the acclaim surrounding his recent autobiography, Still Grazing: The Musical Journey of Hugh Masekela (co-written with Michael Cheers ), this first new album in three years finds him in the company of South Africa’s most talented young producers and musicians. On Revival, the horn player/ vocalist/songwriter draws much of his inspiration from the arranging styles of Kwaito (pronounced kwite-o) music exponents, Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat, jazz, and rhythm and blues.
Kwaito is music with a message, a style that emerged following the end of apartheid in the early 1990s as people felt freer to express their true feelings about the quality of their lives without fear or imprisonment. Kwaito, slang for “ferocious,” “hot-tempered” or “awesome,” was initially promoted by small, independent record labels in South Africa. Since that time, Kwaito has become the voice of urban youth in new South Africa.
“Two of the most talented young master-producers from the Kwaito world, Zwai Bala of TKZee fame and Godfrey “Guffy” Pilane, had made a fan out of me with the cross-section of wonderful productions they had success with over the last decade because they were prolific, versatile and extremely gifted,” Masekela says in his liner notes, “I sincerely felt that a collaboration with them would bridge the ridiculous category gap that separated us and result in a truly and proudly South African product.”
On Revival, the South African music giant fires up his flugelhorn and cornet with six originals: “Woman of the Sun,” “Spring,” “Smoke,” “Sleep,” “Working Underground” and “Open the Door.” Most of Revival’s twelve tracks focus as much on Masekela’s voice as his widely praised horn-playing.
The soothing opener, “After Tears,” features his trademark catchy rhythms and jazzy horn lines, as well as the guitar work of Jimmy Dludlu, whom Masekela considers to be one of the greatest living guitarists. Merging jazz, funk and pop, Masekela and his group lock into a supple groove on Hotep Idris Galeta ’s “District Six.” Other highlights include Zwai Bala’s “Fresh Air” and an instrumental version of the Isley Brothers ’“For the Love of You.”
Born near Johannesburg in 1939, Hugh Masekela made a remarkable journey from apartheid South Africa to the music scene in New York City, where he struck gold with his instrumental pop hit, “Grazing in the Grass.” However, Masekela was also one of the leading crusaders against apartheid. His collaborations with Miriam Makeba and his groundbreaking early albums help bring traditional South African music to the mainstream jazz audience.
Masekela studied at the Guidhall School of Music, then the Manhattan School of Music. During the early 1960s, his career began to explode. He recorded for Chissa, MGM, Mercury, Universal, Motown, A&M, Warner Brothers, Jive Records and Sony Music, developing his powerful blend of jazz, funk and afro-beat. He has released over forty albums and has performed with artists as diverse as Dizzy Gillepsie, The Crusaders, Harry Belafonte, Bill Cosby, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Santana, Paul Simon, Stan Getz and Herb Alpert. Masekela conceived and composed the music for the Broadway smash musical Sarafina with actor/director/songwriter/playwright Mbongeni Ngema.
After all his commercial success, Masekela eventually returned to his transformed homeland, where he continues to be an important force in the world of music.
Over the years, Masekela’s horn has been a call to freedom and a celebration of the resilience of his people. Rejoicing at the demise of apartheid, Revival is the latest release in the 2005 Heads Up Africa series, a critically acclaimed collection that spotlights some of Southern Africa’s finest vocalists and instrumentalists.