Video

Okay Acoustic: Toya Delazy 'Pump It On'

South African singer Toya Delazy shares "the song that liberated her" for the latest Okay Acoustic session on OkayafricaTV.


Toya Delazy sits atop South Africa's electro-pop throne as the founder and reigning queen of J.E.H.P. (the term she coined for her fusion of jazz-electro-hop-pop). But back before she was the South African Music Award's newcomer of 2013 for her high energy solo debut, the KwaZulu-Natal-born music and streetwear icon was a young pianist/vocalist by the name of Latoya Buthelezi. Toya got her start in the music industry, she told us, playing acoustic music for the punks around Durban's pub scene. And so when we caught a glimpse of this acoustic footage, we knew we'd have to get Toya behind a piano on her most recent trip to New York City. "Pump It On," she explained, is the song that "liberated" her. It was her very first single and its video remains her most viewed clip to date. Where Toya is from, "music is not seen as a career," she told us. That all changed with "Pump It On," and OkayafricaTV was very fortunate to sit down with Toya as she performed her breakthrough song as a piano ballad for the latest installment of our Okay Acoustic series. Watch Toya Delazy's live acoustic performance of "Pump It On" below.

Producer: Allison Swank

Videographers: Lance Steagall + Jay Sprogell

Sound Engineer: Robert Lux

Editor: Jay Sprogell

Watch OkayafricaTV and OkayplayerTV's previous Okay Acoustic sessions from Kae Sun, Jon Batiste, and Liam Bailey.

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.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.