How Hugh Masekela was part of the SA House music revolution

2018-01-28 00:00
Hugh Masekela

Johannesburg - DJ, record producer and businessman Oscar “Oskido” Mdlongwa remembers Bra Hugh’s influence on the revolution of South African House music:

There was a seminal South African House album from Brothers of Peace (BOP), called Zabalaza: Project B, released in 2001. It had vuvuzela baselines and a jazz funk through the kwaito chants. It got picked up and released internationally by US House godfathers Masters at Work (MAW), who remixed the title track after coaxing BOP’s Oskido Warona and Bruce “Dope” Sebitlo, kwaito kingpins moving into House, to Miami for several Winter Conference appearances.

Back home, inspired by MAW’s 1997 Nuyorican Soul, BOP invited South Africa’s jazz greats to come to studio to record on their next album, Zabalaza. Of them, only the late Moses Taiwa Molelekwa and Hugh Masekela responded.

“Bra Hugh came through,” Oskido from BOP tells #Trending. “He was always there for the younger guys, always ... Most of these jazz musicians were not recognising kwaito, but he said, no this is it."

"We sent the record to Louie [Vega from MAW] to listen to. One afternoon I get to my house and there’s an email from them saying we want to sign this record, not the single, the whole album ... I’m calling Bruce ... no one could believe it. Louie Vega remixes the record. Boom. It became big all over. Pu pu pu pu pu pu!”

Oskido adds: “It was the same with Black Coffee. He was with us at Kalawa [Jazmee Records] in the early years. He wanted to remix Stimela so I arranged a meeting with him and Bra Hugh. They went in, talking music and business, and Black Coffee got his blessing at once.” History tells the rest.

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