Masekela: He kept us together in song. He will not perish. He will rise and rise.
Afro-Jazz legend, Hugh Masekela, has passed on leaving many people across the globe in sorrow but also in melodious reminisce of Masekela’s musical legacy.
We resolved to republish the following piece which captured Masekela in Paris, paying tribute to the late Mirriam Makeba. He stated that: “When we were in exile she (Makeba) kept us together with song. She is that kind of person, like Louise Armstrong, who will not die. She will rise and rise.”
Today we utter the same words towards Masekela: He kept us together with song. He will not perish. He will rise and rise and rise.
Paris – Afro-Jazz supremo, Hugh Masekela, was in Paris over the past weekend doing his thing. Amidst an electric performance of his classics, like Stimela, Masekela paid a moving tribute to the late Mirriam Makeba.
The Makeba tribute came via a mini monologue that preceded the performance of the African Queen’s song Bayajabula. Masekela declared Makeba as “a moving anthology of healing songs of southern, central and eastern Africa.”
This, said Masekela, was assisted by the fact that Makeba‘s great grandmother, her grandmother and mother were all traditional healers. Indeed Masekela was able to connect and deliver element of uBungoma (healing spirit) onto the Parisian stage on the 24th of July 2015.
Masekela added that “When she (Makeba) opened her mouth to sing, everybody opened their mouths in wonderment of the beauty of her voice.
Masekela further declared that a critical part of his career development is owed to Makeba’s activism and generosity. In many ways “she (Makeba) brought Africa to the world while studying in America.” He cited how Makeba addressed the United Nation’s General Assembly in 1963 which exposed apartheid to many people around the world for the first time. It was around this time that Makeba “brought me to school to study in New York. She would give her last penny to exiled and struggling students studying in America. She educated most of us.
“She raised money for many African liberation movements.
“When we were in exile she kept us together with song. She is that kind of person, like Louise Armstrong, who will not die. She will rise and rise.”
If it was his intention to spark the rise of Makeba’s spirits with his performance at the New Morning venue in Paris, Masekela did justice. Only spiritual possession can explain the performance of the 76 years old Afro-Jazz artist. He still manages to do the ‘get downs’ as if he is in his twenties.
He delivered the Stimela (The Coal Train) with remarkable gusto as if he wrote it yesterday. The delivery of other Bra Hugh’s Greats like Bring Back Nelson Mandela and African Woman was equally energetic. The performance was indeed assisted by the cozy environment offered by the New Morning venue in Paris and the presence of a sizeable crowed of South African origin in Paris. This is a small music nightclub which takes about 500 people.
If the hughmasekela.co.za platform is anything to go by, then the New Morning performance was part of a mini European tour which also touched Germany.