Performance Saturday, October 16, 2010 | 8 PM

Hugh Masekela

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Over the course of a 40-year career—during which he has collaborated with artists from Paul Simon to The Byrds to Ladysmith Black Mambazo—this extraordinary trumpeter-composer has mixed the music of his South African roots with the pop-jazz of the 1960s.


  • Hugh Masekela, Trumpet, Flugelhorn, and Vocals


    Program is approximately 1 hour, 50 minutes, including one intermission


  • Hugh Masekela

    Legendary South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela is an innovator in the world-music and jazz scenes, and is active as a performer, composer, producer, and activist. This iconic artist is best known for his integral role in Paul Simon's tour in support of the classic album Graceland. Masekela's Grammy Award-winning hit "Grazing in the Grass" made him an international star. He has collaborated with numerous artists in the US, Africa, and Europe, including Miriam Makeba, Dizzy Gillespie, Harry Belafonte, and Herb Alpert. Renowned choreographer Alvin Ailey chose a piece by Masekela to create a work for his world famous Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Masekela also co-created the Broadway smash musical Sarafina! that introduced the sounds and passion of South African music to theater audiences worldwide.

    Masekela's work as an activist raised international awareness of the South African government's restrictive apartheid policies. In the 1980s, his hit song "Bring Him Back Home" became an anthem for the movement to free Nelson Mandela from prison.

    Masekela celebrated his 70th birthday in a highly acclaimed performance with the London Symphony Orchestra in 2009. This past April, he received The Order of Ikhamanga from South African President Jacob Zuma, his nation's highest civilian honor. At this year's World Cup, Masekela appeared in the live opening ceremony that was broadcast worldwide. As part of ESPN's coverage of the event, Masekela and his son Selema hosted a series of videos entitled Umlando-Through My Father's Eyes. These moving tributes to South Africa celebrated the diversity of its music, culture, and people.

    Cameron John Ward

    The "baby" of the band at the tender age of 22, Cameron John Ward is the most recent South African musician to benefit from Hugh Masekela's constant desire to identify and nurture exceptional young talent. Ward first picked up the guitar at the age of 11 and hasn't looked back since. After graduating from the highly regarded Prompt College of Music in Cape Town, Ward was considered something of a teenage prodigy and was arguably the hottest young guitarist in his country. Still in his teens, he had already played with heavyweight South African and Mozambican jazz musicians, including Themba Mkhize, Jimmy Dludlu, Luis Moreira, and Judith Sephuma. When guitarist Erik Paliani decided to leave Masekela's band in 2008 to return to Malawi and pursue his dream of opening his own studio, his replacement was obvious. Ward has seamlessly fit into the band and his youthful exuberance adds a great counterpoint to Masekela's wise statesmanship.

    Randall Skippers

    Randall Skippers is a graduate of the vibrant Cape Town jazz scene. Born into a musical family, his uncle is well-known jazz guitarist Derrick Skippers. From the age of 15, Randall was part of his uncle's band. The young Skippers cut his teeth in Cape Town's late-night jazz clubs, while also playing on Sunday mornings in the local church. His desire to further his musical career led him to Johannesburg in 2003, and he quickly earned a reputation among the local jazz cognoscente, playing with established artists like Ernie Smith, Vusi Khumalo, Judith Sephuma, and Selaelo Selota. In 2007, he was brought to Hugh Masekela's attention by Malawian producer-guitarist Erik Paliani (who was Masekela's guitarist at the time). Masekela quickly recognized Skippers's skill and recruited him as a fulltime band member.

    Abednigo "Fana" Zulu

    Widely regarded as South Africa's finest bass player, Fana Zulu has developed his own unique style with his upside-down strung, six-string bass guitar. Born in Soweto (outside Johannesburg) in 1961, Zulu started making his own guitars on the dusty township streets at the age of 9, using pieces of wood, oil cans, and fishing wire. He picked up tips from various neighborhood musicians and by the age of 17 decided that he was going to make music his profession. Zulu then joined a local group, The Editions. He earned a good reputation on the township music scene, and in 1982, he toured South Africa with the highly regarded blind vocalist Babsy Mlangeni. In 1984, Zulu joined the seminal South African band Bayete (that also featured the legendary Jabu Khanyile). Bayete recorded some of the great protest music of the 1980s-a turbulent time in South Africa's political history. In 1994, Zulu left Bayete to pursue solo projects and worked as a session musician on recordings by Miriam Makeba, Jimmy Dludlu, Sibongile Khumalo, and Themba Mkhize, among others. In 2000, he joined Hugh Masekela's touring band, and has been a permanent fixture ever since.

    Lee-Roy Sauls

    Essentially a rock 'n' roll drummer, Lee-Roy Sauls got his start in the Cape Town night clubs, and like his good friend Randall Skippers was a member of his church band during his teenage years. Escaping the tough Cape Town neighborhoods where gang-life and drugs were commonplace, Sauls relocated to Johannesburg in 2004. Soon after, he started moving in jazz and rock circles, where he made a name as a talented and versatile drummer. Like Skippers, his introduction to Hugh Masekela was through Erik Paliani at the Phola recording sessions in 2007. The young drummer soon made the grade under Masekela's strict tutelage, and is now an integral member of the touring group.

    Francis Manneh Fuster

    Born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Francis Manneh Fuster is one of Africa's best-known percussionists. As a young teenager, he began learning his craft under the tutorship of Batu Boisei, and then honed his skills playing in his church group every Sunday. In 1962, after a chance encounter, he joined The Heartbeats (a seminal West African band that was influential in the development of the Afrobeat style). They toured regularly in Nigeria, Ghana, and Liberia, and counted the young Fela Kuti as one of their many fans. In 1972, The Heartbeats split up, prompting Fuster to move to Nigeria, where he formed his own group, Baranta. In the 1970s, he also played regularly with Fela, Manu Dibango, and Osibisa. In 1982, he moved to London, where he reconnected with Hugh Masekela (whom he had originally met in 1974). Not long after, he became a permanent fixture in Masekela's touring band. His association with Masekela also led him to tour the world with Paul Simon in the late 1980s and early '90s. After 28 years, Fuster is a vital part of the Masekela sound.

    Morris Goldberg

    Morris Goldberg is a New York-based composer, saxophonist, clarinetist, and penny whistler who grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. After relocating to the US, he attended the Manhattan School of Music, where he received both his bachelor's and master's degrees. Well-known to jazz lovers, Morris won popular acclaim through his featured performances on Paul Simon's Graceland, including the penny whistle solo in the hit song "You Can Call Me Al." Morris attained nationwide acclaim as saxophonist and wind specialist on The Rosie O'Donnell Show (l996-2002). For nearly 20 years, Morris performed with Harry Belafonte and appeared on three video releases, including An Evening with Harry Belafonte and Friends. Morris has also performed with Miriam Makeba, Letta Mbulu, and Jonathan Butler, in addition to being featured in Masekela's spectacular Sekunjalo tour. Morris has played at many jazz festivals with Masekela, including the Playboy Jazz Festival in Los Angeles and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. He has also performed with his own band at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and the Standard Bank Jazz Festival in South Africa. Morris has recorded three albums with his group, OJOYO, who play Safrojazz, a combination of South African and American music.
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"Grazing in the Grass"
Hugh Masekela, Trumpet / John Selolwane, Guitar / Arthur Tshabalela, Keyboards / Khaya Mahlangu. Flute / Dumisani Hlela, Drums / O Moiloa, Keyboards / Lucas Senyatso, Bass

This performance is part of Around the Globe.