- Name: Hugh Masekela
- Age at Death: 78 years old
- Height: 5ft 2in (158 cm)
- Occupation: Musician
- Net Worth: US $1.5 Million
- Status: Deceased
Hugh Masekela was a South African musician, composer and singer. He was dubbed the “father of South African Jazz”. His instrument of choice was the trumpet. He was known for songs like “Grazing in the Grass”, “Soweto Blues” and “Bring Him Back Home”. Hugh Ramopolo Masekela was born on April 4, 1939 in Witbank, South Africa. His father, Thomas, was a health inspector, and his mother, Pauline, a social worker. He was raised primarily by his grandmother. Masekela attended missionary schools as a child. later on, he studied at London’s Guildhall School of Music followed by the Manhattan School of Music in NYC. He received honorary doctorate from Rhodes University (2015) and University of York (2014).
Masekela took up the piano and singing as a child. He was inspired by the musical-drama film, Young Man with a Horn (1950), starring Kirk Douglas. He switched focus to the trumpet at age 14. Masekela gained early exposure performing with the Huddleston Jazz Band, headed by Trevor Huddleston. After the band dissolved, he co-founded the ‘Merry Makers of Springs’ alongside Jonas Gwangwa. He would later join the Alfred Herbert’s Jazz Revu. During his tenure, he was featured in the orchestra of the musical for King Kong (1959). Masekela was a member of the short lived bebop band ‘The Jazz Epistles’. The other members included Dollar Brand, Kippie Moeketsi, Jonas Gwangwa and Makaya Ntshoko. Their album, Jazz Epistle, Verse 1, was released in 1960 by Continental Records. They became the first black band in South Africa to record a full-length album.
Masekela moved to the United States in the 1960s. His debut LP, Trumpet Africaine, was released in 1962 by Mercury Records. It included songs like “Click Song” and “Wimoweh”. Other 1960s projects followed, including Grrr (1966), The Americanization of Ooga Booga (1966), The Promise of a Future (1968) and Africa ’68 (1968). Masekela would later created his own record label ‘Chisa Records’. His independent releases include Reconstruction (1970) and Hugh Masekela & The Union of South Africa (1971). He achieved critical and commercial success with the single “Grazing in the Grass”, composed by Philemon Hou. It peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has sold millions of copies worldwide.
In the 1970s, Masekela worked with acts like Monk Montgomery & the Crusaders, Fela Kuti & Africa 70, Hedzoleh Soundz, and Herb Alpert. He did several performances in the U.S. and the U.K. His 1972 album, Home Is Where the Music Is, featured Dudu Pukwana (alto sax), Eddie Gomez (bass guitar), and Makhaya Ntshoko (drums) among others. Masekela returned to South Africa in the late 1980s. His later projects include Uptownship (1989), Hope (1994), Live at the Market Theatre (2007), Phola (2009), Playing @ Work (2012) and No Borders (2016). His autobiography ‘Still Grazing’ was published in 2004. Masekela won 2 Grammy Awards for his contribution to the music industry. He was named “African Music Legend award” at the 2007 Ghana Music Awards. He was honored with the ‘Order of Ikhamanga’ at the 2010 South African National Orders Ceremony.PERSONAL
Hugh Masekela died on January 23, 2018, at the age of 78. His reported cause of death was prostate cancer. He is survived by his wife, Elinam Cofie, and by two children, Pula Twala and Selema. Masekela was about 5ft 2in tall and he was of South African ancestry. His personal net worth was estimated at $1.5 million prior to his death.
Hugh Masekela Age, Birthday, Salary, Wiki
- Birth Name: Hugh Ramopolo Masekela
- Birthday: April 4, 1939
- Place of Birth: Witbank, South Africa
- Zodiac Sign: Aries
- How Tall : Height: 5ft 2in (158 cm)
- Occupation: Musician, Singer, Composer
- Years Active: 1956-2018
- Net Worth & Salary: US $1.5 Million
- Marriage(s): Jabu Mbatha, Chris Calloway, Miriam Makeba, Elinam Cofie
- Death-O-Meter: Dead
- Died: January 23, 2018
- Cause of Death: Prostate Cancer
- Place of Death: Johannesburg, South Africa