News Brief

Nigerians Mourn the Loss of Reggae Legend Ras Kimono

The celebrated artist was known for his socially conscious reggae anthems.

Following a short illness, Nigerian musician Ras Kimono, passed away yesterday morning, reports CNN Africa. He was 60.

The multiple award-winning artist was a celebrated figure within the Nigerian music industry, known for producing music that addressed the country's social ills.

Born Ukeleke Elumelu Onwubuya, the artists, along with his band Massive Dread, rose to fame in 1989 following the release of his debut album "Under Pressure." Other notable hits include "We No Wan," and "Rub A Dub." He was also known for his popular anti-apartheid anthem "Kill Apartheid."


"Ras Kimono made an immeasurable contribution in the field of arts. He used music for political awakening. He was not a praise singer for the establishment. His songs were for the poor and for his country. Adieu," wrote Senator Sheu Sani. Many Nigerians have been sharing warm memories of the singer all morning.







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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