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Just A Band's Winter Journey To New York City

Kenyan electronic pop band Just A Band document their trip to New York City in a self-shot video that follows them from Dubai to Webster Hall

Kenyan electronic pop outfit Just A Band made their way to New York City earlier this winter to for a packed-out globalFEST showcase at Webster Hall. Ahead of their flight over, we asked group members Blinky Bill Selanga, Dan Muli, Mbithi Masya, Sedar, Joe Were and Richard Wandati to document their travels and time in the city for Okayafrica.


"New York City and globalFEST was a dope experience," the band writes in an e-mail, "It was ridiculously cold but we felt the love in spite of the cold weather. It wasn't our first time performing in New York. The Big Apple always embraces us and we're grateful for it. The audience at globalFEST was super. They jumped right in, sang along and danced with us. It was a very memorable experience."

The band sent over pictures and a self-shot, self-edited video of their trip here. The handheld clip kicks off with Just A Band in Dubai, then follows the group on their flight and as they land in a frozen New York City, where they trek from Harlem's 125th Street to the studio with Comissioner Gordon and their soundcheck at Webster Hall. Watch Just A Band's journey to New York City video below and scroll through pictures from their trip above. Just A Band's third studio album Sorry For The Delay is available on iTunes.

>>>For more read Just A Band's City Guide to their hometown of Nairobi

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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