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Video: NDAM is Glory in Wolof

Baay Souley is not a musician, but knows about NDAM and transmission. In the clip above, he explains the concept. NDAM is Wolof for Glory, la Victoire, Success, Reward. It’s what we all seek in one way or another through our mind-bogglingly specific domains in the knowledge-economy. NDAM is right up there with FUN and BEAUTY: all good things, all totally elusive and fleeting. If NDAM can be thought of as an imprint of greatness, then music is one of nature's designed carriers, a tool to transmit NDAM among people.


Baye Souley is a wise man on a hilltop. It’s a storybook kind of role that he does harder than rendered; he even has the white beard. Baye Souley perched himself on not just any hilltop, his chosen station of wisdom is one with very heavy implications for modern African music and culture on both sides of the Atlantic: Gorée island, a historic hub of the West African slave trade and focal point for modern remembrance.

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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