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Hugh Masekela|Hope

Hope

Hugh Masekela

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Now happily resettled in South Africa, Masekela assembled a seven-piece group there and recorded an informal guided tour of his life and repertoire live in Washington D.C.'s Blues Alley. The songs stretch over a period of nearly five decades and several countries and composers -- from an incantatory Alexandria township tune, "Languta," which he learned in 1947, to a fairly ordinary piece written by keyboardist Themba Mkhize in 1993, "Until When." "Abangoma" starts the CD out on the right track, hearkening back to the early fusion of African music and jazz that Masekela was playing back in 1966. "Mandela (Bring Him Back Home)" may have lost some of its political raison d'etre by 1993, but it remains a good tune, and the band plays it with enthusiasm. Yet Masekela's biggest hit, "Grazing in the Grass," sounds a bit tired in this live rendition. There are two songs by the prolific South African composer Caiphus Semenya, "Nomali" and the driving "Ha Le Se," and the late Nigerian idol Fela Anikulapo-Kuti is represented by "Lady." Clearly the resolution of the political struggle in South Africa had mellowed Masekela; he sounds happier, perhaps less fiery, certainly more polished and refined on the trumpet and flugelhorn than when he started out. But when you hear his bitter narration on "Stimela," describing the life of formerly conscripted coal miners, you suspect that not all of the old wounds have healed.
© Richard S. Ginell /TiVo

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Hope

Hugh Masekela

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1
Abangoma (The Healers)
00:05:03

Hugh Masekela, MainArtist

2002 Indieblu Music 2002 Indieblu Music

2
Uptownship
00:04:54

Hugh Masekela, MainArtist

2002 Indieblu Music 2002 Indieblu Music

3
Mandela (Bring Him Back Home!)
00:05:12

Hugh Masekela, MainArtist

2002 Indieblu Music 2002 Indieblu Music

4
Grazin' in the Grass
00:03:30

Hugh Masekela, MainArtist

2002 Indieblu Music 2002 Indieblu Music

5
Lady
00:07:02

Hugh Masekela, MainArtist

2002 Indieblu Music 2002 Indieblu Music

6
Until When
00:04:11

Hugh Masekela, MainArtist

2002 Indieblu Music 2002 Indieblu Music

7
Languta
00:08:07

Hugh Masekela, MainArtist

2002 Indieblu Music 2002 Indieblu Music

8
Nomali
00:08:58

Hugh Masekela, MainArtist

2002 Indieblu Music 2002 Indieblu Music

9
Marketplace
00:05:31

Hugh Masekela, MainArtist

2002 Indieblu Music 2002 Indieblu Music

10
Ntyilo Ntyilo (The Love Bird)
00:05:58

Hugh Masekela, MainArtist

2002 Indieblu Music 2002 Indieblu Music

11
Ha Le Se (The Dowry Song)
00:05:41

Hugh Masekela, MainArtist

2002 Indieblu Music 2002 Indieblu Music

12
Stimela (The Coal Train)
00:10:01

Hugh Masekela, MainArtist

2002 Indieblu Music 2002 Indieblu Music

Album review

Now happily resettled in South Africa, Masekela assembled a seven-piece group there and recorded an informal guided tour of his life and repertoire live in Washington D.C.'s Blues Alley. The songs stretch over a period of nearly five decades and several countries and composers -- from an incantatory Alexandria township tune, "Languta," which he learned in 1947, to a fairly ordinary piece written by keyboardist Themba Mkhize in 1993, "Until When." "Abangoma" starts the CD out on the right track, hearkening back to the early fusion of African music and jazz that Masekela was playing back in 1966. "Mandela (Bring Him Back Home)" may have lost some of its political raison d'etre by 1993, but it remains a good tune, and the band plays it with enthusiasm. Yet Masekela's biggest hit, "Grazing in the Grass," sounds a bit tired in this live rendition. There are two songs by the prolific South African composer Caiphus Semenya, "Nomali" and the driving "Ha Le Se," and the late Nigerian idol Fela Anikulapo-Kuti is represented by "Lady." Clearly the resolution of the political struggle in South Africa had mellowed Masekela; he sounds happier, perhaps less fiery, certainly more polished and refined on the trumpet and flugelhorn than when he started out. But when you hear his bitter narration on "Stimela," describing the life of formerly conscripted coal miners, you suspect that not all of the old wounds have healed.
© Richard S. Ginell /TiVo

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