Hugh Masekela & The Mahotella Queens in Basel

AVO Session 2008

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Hugh Masekela — Singer, flugelhornist

Hugh Masekela band

The Mahotella Queens

Hilda Tloubatla — Singer

Nobesuthu Mbadu — Singer

Mildred Mangxola — Singer

Mahotella Queens band

Program notes

Relive the exceptional concert of two remarkable figures in South African music, Hugh Masekela and the vocal group Mahotella Queens, in a warm-hearted evening with the captivating sounds of mbaqanga music and South African jazz.

Flugelhornist and cornetist Hugh Masekela is considered the founding father of South African jazz. An anti-apartheid activist, he went into exile in the United States in 1961 and befriended Harry Belafonte, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Max Roach, and Dizzy Gillespie. He recorded his first album in 1962 and attained international success in the late 60s with songs like Grazing In the Grass. He has also played with Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, and Jimi Hendrix, as well as Fela Kuti, The Byrds, and Paul Simon from the mid 70s. His songs Soweto Blues and Bring Him Back Home have become emblems of the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

The Mahotella Queens are a South African band formed in 1964. Led by singer Simon “Mahlathini” Nkabinde, the group attained success in the 60s and 70s. The Mahotella Queens reformed in the late 80s and became an ensemble led by three of the original singers, Hilda Tloubatla, Nobesuthu Mbadu, and Mildred Mangxola. They became ambassadors of South African music and the mbaqanga style, which blends traditional jazz with soul and American gospel music.

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