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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Music
Courtesy of Universal Music

Brenda Mtambo Announces New Single ‘Khululeka’

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Brenda Mtambo's single 'Khululeka' is an ode to her emotional growth and the mental health battles she conquered in the past year.

Brenda Mtambo shares that "Khululeka" was born out of her personal struggles. "The title of the song stems from my lived experience with chronic anxiety, a diagnosis that led to my self-introspection and finding the words to express myself. "Khululeka" is me pouring my heart out and hoping it brings healing to those struggling with mental health issues,'' Mtambo explained in a statement.

The last few months have been incredibly difficult for most and music remains one of the few constants that soothe the soul. Mtambo, like many battling emotional challenges during these turbulent times, sought refuge in music.

In May 2020, the velvety-voiced singer opened up about her mental health struggles. She penned most of them down, she says, adding that she mostly felt emotionally vulnerable. "Have you ever thought you're losing your mind over something? That's how I have been. But I am healing each and everyday," the soulful singer told her social media followers.

"Khululeka", she enthuses, is an ode to growth and conquering that difficult chapter in her life. Mtambo, a Best Urban Jazz and Best Female nominee at the 2016 Metro Fm Music Awards, hopes that her latest offering will soothe, uplift and inspire those who are going through life's challenges.

Brenda Mtambo's new single is an ode to her emotional growth. Courtesy of Universal Music


Through this single, Mtambo wishes to invite her fans to bask in the glory of freedom, saneness, hope and faith — and is confident that the track will appeal to, both, old and new fans.

Mtambo cut her teeth in the South African music industry as a back-up musician for artists such as the late Hugh Masekela and Lira amongst others. Mtambo's latest work "demonstrates the progression of sound as an artist and delivers a mature and soulful feel," notes Urban Promotions Manager Lwazi Zondo.

"Khululeka" is a prelude to the launch of the full album SANE, due for release in August this year. One of Mtambo's biggest career highlights was performing her politically-charged single "Mhlaba Wethu" in front of thousands of mourners at Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's memorial service held at Orlando Stadium, Soweto, in Johannesburg on April 11, 2018.

"Khululeka" is available on all major streaming platforms.



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