Spoek Teams Up With The San People & DJ Spoko On 'Pula'

Spoek Mathambo teamed up with the San People x DJ Spoko x Mash.O on 'Pula,' as a part of his participation in Vodacom's 'Firsts Initiative.'

We've been on the look-out for Spoek Mathambo's latest project since we caught wind last week that the afro-futurist heavyweight had a new "first" up his sleeves. Teaming up with Vodafone for their recently launched Firsts Initiative,' Spoek set out to collaborate with musicians in communities across SA using cloud mobile technology to upload and share the recordings with a studio team back in Joburg.

Chopped and unified into one song, Spoek's latest effort arrived today in the form of the eclectic, multi-lingual banger "Pula." The cross-generational collaboration, which features vocals from the San people of Platfontein,, Bheki Cele, and Thulasizwe, receives a production hand from drum enthusiast Mash.O and "bacardi house" mastermind DJ Spoko (who released one of our Top Tracks of 2013). Think of "Pula" as the birth of Kalahari-futurism. Listen on below and head over here for more photos from the "first time" Spoek recorded with San musicians in Platfontein.

Update 2/13:

Watch a full behind-the-scenes documentary below.

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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