Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Graze on this One: Hugh Masekela and "Ngena-Ngena"

Today's random tune is performed by Hugh Masekela. A trumpeter, cornetist, flugelhornist, composer and singer, Masekela began singing and playing piano as a child, but took up the trumpet after seeing Kirk Douglas play a trumpeter modeled on Bix Beiderbecke in the movie Young Man with a Horn. His music has always reflected his life experience during South Africa's apartheid era, and through his music he reached a large portion of the population living through the oppression. He helped form and played with the groundbreaking group The Jazz Epistles, the first African jazz group to record an LP. He is known in the United States for his interpretation of the 5th Dimension's Up, Up and Away (1967) and his hit Grazing in the Grass (1968). He was once married to singer Miriam Makeba, and he toured with Paul Simon in support of his Graceland album. He has also worked with African artists of all stripes, and he is involved in a number of South African social initiatives. This song, Ngena-Ngena, can be found on his 1992 album Beatin' Aroun de Bush, and on the 1999 compilation The Best of Hugh Masekela on Novus.