Events

Okayafrica CMJ: Red Hot + Felabration 2013 w/ Questlove!

Join us as we celebrate Felabration and the release of Red Hot + FELA at Brooklyn Bowl!


To coincide with FELABRATIONS across the globe, Okayafrica is presenting its own Felabration during CMJ at Brooklyn Bowl (Thurs, Oct 17). Join us as we rejoice and honor what would have been the afrobeat godfather Fela Anikulapo Kuti's 75th birthday with an all out celebration of the great man's life and legacy through music and activism.

We'll be holding it down and celebrating the release of the Red Hot + FELA album alongside the FELA! band starring Sahr Ngaujah (the star of FELA! on Broadway) and Bajah + The Dry Eye Crew! Afterwards the party will shift to a Fela-themed Bowl Train, DJ'ed by the only ?uestlove, which will continue until the wee hours. ?uesto will be spinning Fela Kuti and afrobeat hits throughout his usual set. We'll also be showcasing some classic Fela performances and interview clips. See you all there!

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Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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