Siparia to Soweto highlights the legendary jazz musician’s great love for travel, musical adventure, and collaboration, and is due to be released on the 4th of April, which was his birthday.

Fans of the late Hugh Masekela are in for a treat as a new album celebrating his life is soon to be released.

Siparia to Soweto highlights the legendary musician’s great love of travel, musical adventure, and collaboration, and is due to be released on the 4th of April, which was his birthday.

The legendary jazz musician passed away five years ago after a long battle with prostate cancer.

“I am amazed at the resonance of Hugh’s spirit, as it continues to, as my mother said, ‘create new facets of his nature those will remain unchained causing ever novel vistas.’ His presence and absence continues to inspire new projects, undertakings, and people,” said Masekela’s nephew Mabusha.

Bra Hugh, who between 2012 and 2016 regularly travelled to Trinidad met local band leader Akinola Sennon of the Siparia Deltones Orchestra.

Sennon recalls Hugh telling him that he could “clearly envision Siparia as an epicentre of cultural influence.”

“He aligned Siparia and the talent he witnessed there with the potential to become a leading voice within the world’s music and arts industries. It is my goal to be a vessel to honour his vision for my home of Siparia,” said Sennon.

Seven years after these songs were recorded, this unique cross-cultural collaboration Siparia to Soweto between Hugh Masekela and the Siparia Deltones Steel Orchestra, finally sees the light of day.

Siparia to Soweto is a perfect display of allowing our heritage to merge with modernity in order to breathe new life into this art form, and our society as a whole. The album also tells the story of the resilience of our ancestors who were taken from the shores of Africa, yet still achieved greatness, despite generations of bondage and suffering,” said Sennon to Eyewitness News.

On the fifth anniversary of Hugh’s death on 23 January, the lead single, an Amapiano version called The Meeting Place was released to the world.

“I would say that Hugh’s music, in this day and age, is not a symbol, but rather it is a source, a source assembled over a six-decade period, that inspires, strengthens, instructs, empowers, and entertains. A symbol, to me, is something that represents the form or spirit of something else. Hugh’s music is not a symbol of a thing, Hugh’s music is the thing,” said Mabusha.

He said his uncle was often lauded as the father of South African jazz, when in fact he was, according to him, simply and magnificently a South African musician.

“Without a doubt, the knowledge and proficiency of both music and instrument required to be a jazz musician are the basis of his musicianship, but they are not its source.”

Story by: Palesa Manaleng – EWN

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