Profile: Hugh Masekela


Hugh MasekelaA trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer and singer whose career spans four decades, Masekela was part of South Africa’s first Youth Orchestra Huddleston Jazz Band (formed 1956) and formed the Jazz Epistles, who later became the first African Jazz group to record an LP.

The musician is most popular for his hits,’Up, Up and Away’ and ‘Grazin’ in the Grass’. He starred in South Africa’s first orchestra musical, King Kong, (alongside his former wife Miriam Makeba) which ran in London’s West End for two years as well as appearing at the Monterey Pop Festival, in the United States.

Masekela appeared in the documentary film, Amandla! in 2003 and released his autobiography in 2004.

The multi-talented artist has been nominated for a Grammy Award, and has been nominated for a Tony Award for his contribution to the Sarafina musical.


Genre: Jazz, Afrobeat


  • Sixty (2000)
  • Grazing in the Grass: The Best of Hugh Masekela (2001)
  • Time (2002)
  • The Collection (2003)
  • Hope (2003)
  • Still Grazing (2004)
  • Revival (2005)
  • Almost Like Being In Jazz (2005)
  • The Chisa Years: 1965 – 1975 (Rare and Unreleased) (2006)
  • Live at the Market Theatre (2007)
  • Phola (2009)
  • We Are One (Black Coffee featuring Hugh Masekela) (2011)
  • Friends (Hugh Masekela & Larry Willis) (2012)
  • Playing @ Work (2013)

Places to see him perform in Cape Town: Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Baxter Theatre, City Hall, Artscape Theatre


  • BBC Radio Jazz Award’s International Award of the Year (2002)
  • Channel O Music Video Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award (2005)
  • Ghana Music Award’s African Music Legend Award (2007)
  • Gold Order of Ikhamanga (2010)
  • University of York Honorary Doctorate in Music (2014)

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“Hugh Masekela gave a performance that was more than  singing, more than dancing, more than simply performing. ” Read our review of Hugh Masekela at the Festival of Lights in 2013.



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