Hugh Masekela | Artopia

Hugh Masekela was born in Witbank, South Africa on April 4, 1939.  He began singing and playing piano as a child and as a teenager, was encouraged to play the trumpet by the British anti-apartheid activist Father Trevor Huddleston. He played with several bands in Johannesburg, including the Merry Makers of Springs and Jazz Epistles, blending the music of South Africa’s black township churches with American big band and jazz. Masekela left South Africa in 1960 to study music at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. In the 1960s he had hits in the United States with the pop jazz tunes Up, Up and Away and Grazin' in the Grass. In the 1980s he toured with Paul Simon in support of the critically acclaimed album, Graceland. He also collaborated in the musical development for the Broadway play, Sarafina! In 2003, he was featured in the documentary film Amandla!, which portrayed the importance of music in the struggle to end apartheid.