Last Updated on September 8, 2018 by mybiohub
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Hugh Ramapolo Masekela was born on 4 April 1939 in KwaGuqa Township, Witbank and was married to singer and activist Miriam Makeba also had marriages with Chris Calloway (daughter of Cab Calloway), Jabu Mbatha and Elinam Cof. He was till his death (of Prostate cancer) on 23 January a renown South African trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer and singer. He has been described as the “father of South African jazz.” 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”.
Towards the end of 1959, Dollar Brand (later known as Abdullah Ibrahim), Kippie Moeketsi, Makhaya Ntshoko, Johnny Gertze and Hugh formed the Jazz Epistles, 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.
He also provided interpretations of songs composed by Jorge Ben, Antônio Carlos Jobim, Caiphus Semenya, Jonas Gwangwa, Dorothy Masuka and Fela Kuti.
Masekela was nominated for a Grammy Award three times, including a nomination for Best World Music Album for his 2012 album Jabulani, one for Best Musical Cast Show Album for Sarafina! The Music Of Liberation (1989) and one for Best Contemporary Pop Performance for “Grazing in the Grass“