Hugh Ramapolo Masekela (4 April 1939 – 23 January 2018) was a South African trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer and singer.
He has been described as "the father of South African jazz." Masekela was known for his jazz compositions and for writing well-known anti-apartheid songs such as "Soweto Blues" and "Bring Him Back Home".
He also had a number 1 US pop hit in 1968 with his version of "Grazing in the Grass".
Hugh Masekela passed on peacefully at his country home, Johannesburg, South Africa after a protracted battle with prostate cancer on January 23, 2018 at the aged 78.
Masekela was nominated for three nominations at the 2017 AFRIMA Awards in the categories of 'Best Male Artiste in Southern Africa' for his recent single 'Shango', 'Album of the Year' for his recent album 'No Borders' and for the 'Best Artiste in African Jazz'.
These three nominations show that the legend waxed strong till his last breadth. Masekela was scheduled to be at the host city, Lagos, Nigeria, for the 2017 AFRIMA Awards in November but was unable to make it due to his ill health in spite all his efforts.
The President and Executive Producer, AFRIMA, Mike Dada, stated that “it is a huge loss for the continent and African music.
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. The music icon will be greatly missed but his music and struggle for free and prosperous Africa will always be in our hearts and minds.”
Masekela gained global recognition with his distinctive Afro-Jazz sound and hit song-Soweto Blues. He creates music from his Africa's experiences andis known for excellent use of trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone and cornet instruments.
Born in April 4, 1939 and 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 Johannesburg 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.
The legend had 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 among other nominations.
AFRIMA will pay tribute to Hugh Masekela in a glorifying spectacle at its fifth edition scheduled to hold in November 2018.
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