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Classic Desert Island Discs: Hugh Masekela

Another chance to listen to the world famous musician speaking to Sue Lawley in 2004.

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

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34 minutes

More information on Hugh’s music choices

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