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Hugh Masekela & Boss Selection’s Soulful Collaboration ‘One Of These Days’

California-based producer Boss Selection enlists South African legend Hugh Masekela for a hypnotizing single from his album 'Volume One.'

Photo by Abby Ross.


Boss Selection is the California-based producer & songwriter Sunny Levine. Previous work with the likes of Pete Yorn, Scarlett Johansson, and Ariel Pink have cemented his reputation as a producer-to-watch. Levine is currently preparing the release of Volume One, a 13-track album that explores the different shades of Boss Selection’s soulful beatwork through multiple collaborations.

For “One Of These Days,” Boss Selection enlists South African legend Hugh Masekela to lay down some warm vocals over a hypnotizing track built on piano and synthesizer flourishes.

“Hugh is, and always has been, ‘Uncle Hugh’ to me—he and my dad have been friends since 1964,” Boss Selection explains over e-mail. “I so badly wanted him on this record but knew it would be a bit tricky because of his touring schedule. I then found out he was going to be in town and started to get something ready. My dad had some piano chords that he sent me over an email, I took them, flipped them and made it into a cool little track.”

“I then figure that I wouldn’t really have the time to sit and write a tune with Hugh so I got into character and tried to write my very best “fake Hugh lyrics” and phrased it how I thought he would sing it. I sang it in his voice (and accent) to act as a demo. Hugh, with my Dad, met me at the studio the next day and he thought he was just gonna play a little trumpet and be done. But, then I told him I wrote the whole song for him to sing. I played it for him and he smiled all big and mischievous, "Sunny, you stole my shit. I'm gonna sing the shit out of it, then I'm gonna sue you...”

“He did sing the shit out of it, played some horns, and was out of there in an hour and a half. I got lucky that the tune worked so well. It’s one of those moments where you feel like you know what you're doing, and you're in full command of your abilities. But let’s not get carried away. I just got lucky that day.”

Boss Selection’s Volume One, featuring collaborations with Rashida Jones, Brenda Russell, Orelia, Pete Yorn and more, will be out tomorrow.

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Watch TRESOR and Sauti Sol's New Video for 'On va bouger'

The artists draw inspiration from the late South African jazz veteran Hugh Masekela and take us back to the 70s in Kinshasa.

Earlier this year, South Africa-based Congolese musician TRESOR released his album Nostalgia. The 13-track project revisits the past to explore the different sounds and the culture on the African continent during that time. The album features South African artists such as AKA, Mafikizolo, Kwesta, Msaki and several others. TRESOR has recently released the visuals for "On va bouger", the track on which he teams up with Kenyan pop duo Sauti Sol. It's a "twisted love story" set in the 70s of Kinshasa and we're certainly here for that vibe.

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Photo by Brett Rubin.

Hugh Masekela Is Being Honored With a Memorial Pavilion Designed by David Adjaye

The pavilion and garden, spearheaded by the artists's family will honor the South African legend's Pan-African spirit.

Yesterday would have been the South African jazz legend Hugh Masekela's 80th birthday and to mark the momentous occasion, and honor his life, his family has commissioned the building of a memorial pavilion in his honor by celebrated Ghanaian architect David Adjaye (OBE).

The memorial pavilion and garden will be "a place to gather, reflect and celebrate the life and impact of Hugh Ramapolo Masekela," read a statement from the family.

"African monuments are a place of gathering and reflection, they help us edify the significance of our ancestors, our heritage and culture," says Adjaye about the cultural significance of the design. "Monuments act as a reminder of our duty in the present to honour the past, they spur us to make a better future," he adds.

READ: 20 Essential Hugh Masekela Songs

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Courtesy of Universal Music Group.

In Conversation with Daniel Kaluuya and Melina Matsoukas: 'This isn't a Black Bonnie and Clyde film—our stories are singular, they're ours.'

'Queen and Slim' lands in South Africa.

Melina Matsoukas and Daniel Kaluuya are everything their surroundings at the opulent Saxon Hotel are not—down-to-earth and even comedic at times. Despite the harsh lights and cameras constantly in their faces, they joke around and make the space inviting. They're also eager to know and pronounce the names of everyone they meet correctly. "It's Rufaro with an 'R'? Is that how you say it?" Kaluuya asks me as he shakes my hand.

Matsoukas, a two-time Grammy award winning director and Kaluuya, an A-list actor who's starred in massive titles including Black Panther and Get Out, have every reason to be boastful about their achievements and yet instead, they're relatable.

The duo is in South Africa to promote their recent film Queen Slim which is hitting theaters today and follows the eventful lives of a Black couple on the run after killing a police officer. It's a film steeped in complexity and layered themes to do with racism, police brutality and of course Black love.

We caught up with both of them to talk about just what it took from each of them to bring the powerful story to the big screen.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Installation view of Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara © The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2020, photography by Anna-Marie Kellen.

The Met's New Exhibition Celebrates the Rich Artistic History of the Sahel Region

'Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara' is an enxtensive look into the artistic past of the West African region.

West Africa's Sahel region has a long and rich history of artistic expression. In fact, pieces from the area, which spans present-day Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, date all the way back to the first millennium. Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara, a new exhibition showing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, dives into this history to share an expansive introduction to those who might be unfamiliar with the Sahel's artistic traditions.

"The Western Sahel has always been a part of the history of African art that has been especially rich, and one of the things that I wanted to do with this exhibition, that hasn't done before, is show one of the works of visual art...and present them within the framework of the great states that historians have written about that developed in this region," curator Alisa LaGamma tells Okayafrica. She worked with an extensive team of researchers and curators from across the globe, including Yaëlle Biro, to bring the collection of over 200 pieces to one of New York City's most prestigious art institutions.

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