Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Desert Island Discs: Classic Desert Island Discs - Hugh Masekela

BBC Radio 4 broadcast: 1st April 2018

Another chance to listen to the world famous musician speaking to Sue Lawley in 2004. As a boy growing up in the impoverished townships of South Africa, he was inspired to learn the trumpet after seeing Kirk Douglas play Bix Beiderbecke in Young Man With A Horn. He begged one of his teachers - the anti-apartheid crusader Father Trevor Huddleston - to buy him a horn and in return he promised to stay out of trouble.

Hugh soon made a name for himself in South Africa but as the racial tensions intensified during the 50s he decided he had to leave his homeland to get a better music education in America. There he quickly made a name for himself with his fusion of African jazz music and became a 'flower child' playing with some of the great bands of the decade: Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix and the Byrds. He's still probably best known for his number-one track, Grazing in the Grass, which sold four million copies worldwide in 1968. He returned to Africa in 1973, spending the next 17 years working on a range of musical collaborations in Botswana, Liberia, Nigeria, Congo and Guinea. Then, after thirty years in self-imposed exile, he returned to his homeland in 1990.

Favourite track: Lilizela Mlilezeli by Mahlathini & the Mahotella Queens
Book: Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
Luxury: A keyboard

Mahlathini And The Mahotella Queens - Lilizela Mlilezeli [Kaz]
Louis Armstrong - Rockin' Chair [Accord]
Miles Davis - All Blues [Columbia]
Dizzy Gillespie - Con Alma [Verve]
Billie Holiday - You've Changed [CBS]
Franco & Sam Mangwana - Fabrice Akende Sango [CBS]
Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir - Radke, Mama Radke [Philips]
Louis Armstrong - When It's Sleepy Time Down South [Columbia]

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