As confirmed by his family and the South African Minister of Culture and Tourism, Legendary South African Trumpeter and Musician Hugh Masekela has passed on at the age of seventy-eight (78) after a protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer.
Born in 1939 in Witbank town, South Africa, Masekela is a celebrated trumpeter, composer and bandleader. Masekela was known for his jazz compositions and for writing well-known anti-apartheid songs such as “Soweto Blues” and “Bring Him Back Home” which became an anthem for the movement to free Nelson Mandela.
Here Are Five Facts You Should Know About The Icon
1. Why He Started Playing The Trumpet: Masekela was inspired to learn the trumpet after seeing Kirk Douglas play Bix Beiderbecke in the 1950 film “Young Man with a Horn” and he persuaded one of his teachers – the anti-apartheid crusader Father Trevor Huddleston – to buy him an instrument, promising to stay out of trouble in return.
2. He Went On Exile: In 1960, aged 21, he left South Africa to begin what would be 30 years in exile from the land of his birth following the 21st, March 1960 Sharpeville massacre—where 69 protesting Africans were shot dead in Sharpeville, and the South African government banned gatherings of ten or more people—and the increased brutality of the Apartheid state.
3. He Became a Jazz Music Force In the US: He had hits in the United States with the pop jazz tunes “Up, Up and Away” (1967) and the number-one smash “Grazing in the Grass” (1968), which sold four million copies. He also appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, and was subsequently featured in the film Monterey Pop by D. A. Pennebaker.
4. He Is a 3 Times Grammy Nominee: Hugh Masekela has received a total of three Grammy nominations. In 1968, he nominated in the “Best Contemporary – Pop Performance, Instrumental” category. In 1989, he was nominated in the “Best Musical Cast Show Album” category for the Sarafina! The Music Of Liberation Album and in 2012, he got nominated in the “Best World Music Album” category for his 2010 album titled Jabulani.
5. He Released Over Forty Albums: From 1962 to 2016, Hugh Masekela released over forty music projects and has has recorded and performed with some of the worlds most celebrated artists including the late great Miriam Makeba, Fela Kuti, The Crusaders, Ladysmith Black Mambazo & Manu Dibango to name a few.
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