"I think it is incumbent, not just on every artist, but every person who has as their source communities that are disadvantaged, to give back," says Hugh Masekela, antiapartheid champion, friend of the downtrodden and musician extraordinaire who is still going strong at the age of 70. "If you don't give back, I think you end up somewhere down the line looking at yourself in a mirror that will eventually crack."
He's spent his life doing just that. Playing his flugelhorn with force and finesse, he's traveled the world spreading a message of concern for those around the globe--especially in Africa--who are under duress and oppression. He grew up in the apartheid of South Africa, but spent time going to music school in London and New York City, getting a chance to meet some of his musical jazz heroes in the process. But he never stopped caring about his countrymen back home and his zealous passion for freedom for all people--not just governmental freedom, but freedom from poverty and the feeling of hopelessness.
Veteran AAJ Contributor R.J. DeLuke spoke with Masekela about his new album, Phola (Time Square Records, 2009), the difficulties that apartheid imposed on his life and career, and the African heritage that imbues his music, no matter where he is.
Check out Hugh Masekela: Strength in Music and Character at AAJ today!