AFRIMA Celebrates Music Icon, Hugh Masekela
The International Committee of All Africa Music Awards celebrates the life of an African music icon, Hugh Masekela as he joins the league of memorable legends. The ‘Father of African Music’ passed on today after a protracted battle with prostate cancer on January 23, 2018.
Masekela’s Afro-Jazz songs were instruments against the apartheid regime in South Africa and a major influence on many South African music artistes. The South African legend was nominated for three nominations at the 2017 All Africa Music Awards. He was nominated in the ‘Best Male Artiste in Southern Africa’ category for his recent single ‘Shango’. He was also nominated for the ‘Album of the Year’ for his for his recent album ‘No Borders’ and for the ‘Best Artiste in African Jazz’ category as well. These three nominations show that the legend waxed strong till his last breadth.
Hugh Masekela ventured into music as a child when the anti-apartheid chaplain, Archbishop Trevor Huddleston gave him a trumpet as a gift. He found escape from the racial chaos in South Africa in his days with music. He later joined the Journesburg Native Municipal Bras Band, Uncle Suada. In later years, Masekela studied the art of music in London’s Guildhall School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music, New York. Masekela, who creates music from his and Africa’s experiences, is known for excellent use of trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone and cornet instruments.
The legend has released 49 Albums from the 1966 to 2016 and featured legends like Paul Simon, Lady Smith Mambazo, Mariam Makeba and others. He was nominated for the Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Pop Performance – Instrumental in 1968 for his single ‘Grazing in the Grass’, an anti-apartheid piece which sold 4 million copies. He was also nominated for the Best Score at the Tony Award alongside Mbongeni Ngema as the music and lyrics collaborator for the song, Sarafina! Hugh Masekela has received the Honorary Doctorate in Music from University of York in 2014, and Rhodes University in 2015.
The President and Executive Director of the All Africa Music Awards, Mike Dada, noted that it is a timeless loss for the continent. He said Masekela’s music had the depth, the lyricism and the instrumentation that place the legend in the class of world music classics with a definitive signature of its African sound. Masekela was scheduled to be at the host city, Lagos, Nigeria, for the 2017 All Africa Music Awards but was unable to make it due to his health. ‘The music icon will be greatly missed but his music will always be in our hearts and mind’.