Masekela, Hugh

Masekela, Hugh măsˌəkĕlˈə [key], 1939–2018, South African singer, composer, band leader, and trumpet player. After working with several South African jazz bands, he and his then-wife Miriam Makeba fled South Africa in the early 1960s because of apartheid, and Masakela subsequently became a leading voice in the anti-apartheid movement. He studied at the Guildhall School of Music in London and the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, and his music gradually began to fuse jazz with the African dance music known as mbaqanga. He toured sub-Saharan Africa in the 1970s and collaborated with various African musicians during the 70s and 80s. He became known to the American public with his number one hit single, “Grazing in the Grass” (1968), and was a producer of the 1980s South African–themed Broadway musical Serafina! In 1980 Masakela settled in Botswana; a decade later he returned to postapartheid South Africa. His albums include Waiting for the Rain (1986), Tomorrow (1987), The Lasting Impressions of Ooga Booga (1996), and Sixty (2000).

See his autobiography, Still Grazing (2004, with D. M. Cheers).

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