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Hugh Masekela Biography Cause of Death, Wiki, Wife, Children, Career.

Hugh Masekela Biography
Hugh Masekela was a South African trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer and singer. His full name is Hugh Ramapolo Masekela. He is often referred to as the “father of South African jazz.” Hugh Ramapolo Masekela was born on 4 April 1939. He died on 23 January 2018.

Early life

Masekela was born in KwaGuqa Township, Witbank, South Africa. His father’s name is Thomas Selena Masekela. Thomas Selina Masekela was a health inspector and sculptor Hugh Masekela’s mother, Pauline Bowers Masekela was a social worker.
His singing talents began to surface as a child. He began singing and playing piano and largely was raised by his grandmother, who ran an illegal bar for miners.

His career begun at an early age of 14. Masekela was motivated after seeing the film Young Man with a Horn which starred Kirk Douglas playing a character modelled on American jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke. Masekela took up playing the trumpet.
His first trumpet, from Louis Armstrong, was given to him by Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, the anti-apartheid chaplain at St. Peter’s Secondary School now known as St. Martin’s School (Rosettenville).
Huddleston asked the leader of the then Johannesburg “Native” Municipal Brass Band, Uncle Sauda, to teach Masekela the rudiments of trumpet playing. Masekela quickly mastered the instrument.
Soon, some of his schoolmates also became interested in playing instruments, leading to the formation of the Huddleston Jazz Band, South Africa’s first youth orchestra. By 1956, after leading other ensembles, Masekela joined Alfred Herbert’s African Jazz Revue.

Hugh Ramapolo Masekela Music Career

From 1954, Masekela played music that closely reflected his life experience. The agony, conflict, and exploitation South Africa faced during the 1950s and 1960s inspired and influenced him to make music and also spread political change. He was an artist who in his music vividly portrayed the struggles and sorrows, as well as the joys and passions of his country. His music protested about apartheid, slavery, government; the hardships individuals were living. Masekela reached a large population that also felt oppressed due to the country’s situation.
Following a Manhattan Brothers tour of South Africa in 1958, Masekela wound up in the orchestra of the musical King Kong, written by Todd Matshikiza. King Kong was South Africa’s first blockbuster theatrical success, touring the country for a sold-out year with Miriam Makeba and the Manhattan Brothers’ Nathan Mdledle in the lead. The musical later went to London’s West End for two years.

Hugh Masekela Career

At the end of 1959, Dollar Brand (later known as Abdullah Ibrahim), Kippie Moeketsi, Makhaya Ntshoko, Johnny Gertze and Hugh formed the Jazz Epistles. Jazz Epistles was the first African jazz group to record an LP. They performed to record-breaking audiences in Johannesburg and Cape Town through late 1959 to early 1960.
Following the 21 March 1960 Sharpeville massacre, Masekela left the country. He was helped by Trevor Huddleston and international friends such as Yehudi Menuhin and John Dankworth, who got him admitted into London’s Guildhall School of Music. During that period, Masekela visited the United States, where he was befriended by Harry Belafonte. He attended Manhattan School of Music in New York, where he studied classical trumpet from 1960 to 1964. In 1964, Makeba and Masekela were married, divorcing two years later.

Hugh Ramapolo Masekela wife

He was married to singer and activist Miriam Makeba. Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba’s were married from 1964 to 1966. He later married Chris Calloway and Jabu Mbatha. He was with Elinam Cofie from 1999–2018. Hugh Masekela had two children. His son, Sal Masekela is an American television host. His daughter, Barbara Masekela is a poet, educator, and activistist.

Hugh Masekela Death

On 23 January 2018, the father of South African Jazz died in Johannesburg. He died at age 78 after a long battle with prostate cancer.
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“.