Hugh Masekela is one of the South African music industry’s greatest treasures. Born and bred in Kwa-Guqa, Witbank, Hugh started playing the trumpet at the age of 14. I remember an interview he did a few years ago where he told the story of how he got his first trumpet.
When he was 14 years old he saw the film "Young Man With A Horn" which was an autobiographical film based on the life of Bix Beiderbecke. Archbishop Trevor Huddleston from St. Peter’s Secondary School gave him his first trumpet and was the one who asked Uncle Sauda of a well known band to teach Hugh how to play the instrument. Since then Hugh has been in love with his trumpet and it has opened many doors for him. There was a time when he and other South African musicians went to exile and their music was banned in South Africa. This was attributed to the political nature which some of their songs had.
In America, he pursued many other musical interests and his "Up, Up and Away" became a very popular hit in the year 1976. Another one of his hits, "Grazing in the Grass" which was released in 1968 sold over four million copies. His commercial success in the States saw him headline many music festivals and gained him much acclaim. He also won a Grammy for the Best Contemporary pop Performance – Instrumental in 1968. He has since then returned to South African in the 90’s where he collaborated in the development of the Broadway play Sarafina! He has also released some very successful albums.
Below is a video of one of my favourite Hugh Masekela songs, simply because it reminds me of my childhood. It is a song with Thandiswa Mazwai called "Thanayi". Enjoy!