By: Zimkhita Payi
In the history of Jazz music there might be legends but in South Africa the legend of Jazz is Hugh Masekela.
Hugh Masekela is 71 years old, he grew up in Witbank and the first instrument he played was the piano until he saw the movie called Young Man With A Horn and thereafter he changed to a trumpet. His first trumpet was given to him by Archbishop Trevor Huddleston. With the development of his skill he started a band.
Masekela?s musical journey began years ago with his first album released in 1989. He has released a maximum of 33 albums. He music reiterates the journey?s of life. Through his instrument and gift of music he is able to voice the unheard voices and teach of the past to encourage the future. Masekela possesses his trumpet to produce sounds of joy and thought evoking melody. His music is to be listened to with serenity.
In his album called The Best of Hugh Masekela, released on the 1st of February 2008, he features all the bestsellers to create a phenomenal album. It includes songs that made Masekela famous such as Stimela also called Coal Train which tells a story of journeying males, embarking on a journey for employment and how they despise the choo-choo sound the train makes. A total opposite of Stimela being Ziph? Inkomo with a direct translation to Where are the cows thus referring to a South African custom of lobola (bride price) and Thanayi ,both being songs that refer to marriage. Another art work he is remember for is Grazing in Grass which was released in 1968 with mentoring from trumpet icons such as Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis. Grazing in Grass which is featured in numerous other albums he has released was also the song Masekela performed at the opening of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Kick-off Concert .
The Best of Hugh Masekela is a legacy for future generations to come not only as it is fantastic music that teaches of life but also because of the message it carries, be it entertaining or thought provoking. The album does not only benefit the composer or artist but the consumer as it includes songs that are favoured by most individuals. All Masekela?s songs are about life conveyed through sweet melodies from a single touch to create sound with a message.