Hugh Masekela’s 75th Birthday Tour in Honor of Nelson Mandela

New Jersey Performing Arts Center - Sunday, April 6, 2014

By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.

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Back by popular demand, Grammy award-winning, legendary South African trumpeter, composer, Hugh Masekela gave a very special performance at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in celebration of his 75th birthday and honoring the late South African leader Nelson Mandela.

Sunday’s concert was full of South African rhythms and songs. Mr. Masekela was joined on by an outstanding ensemble of musicians - Francis Manneh Edward Fuster, percussion; Abednigo Sibongiseni Zulu, bass; Randall Skippers, keyboards; Lee-Roy Sauls, drums; and Cameron John Ward, guitar.

Mr. Masekela played flugelhorn with precision and his trademark phrases. He sang about world peace, struggle, and love. His voice and signature dance moves are undiminished event at age 75. He unleashed sudden dance steps with deep knee bends, gyrations, deep bass sounds, and screeching in falsetto – all for excitement, and joy. When he sang in Zulu, the messages were very clear and the audience understood from the expressiveness of the songs. Mr. Masekela was very entertaining making a few jokes and sing-alongs to the South African grooves.

The set included Songs included “Lady” (She go say I be Lady o), his most enduring composition “The Marketplace", a few songs inspired by Miriam Makeba and Masekela’s biggest hit, “Grazing in the Grass". The band finished the set with “Mandela (Bring Him Back Home).” The audience was on their feet dancing and cheering expressions of having experienced a joyous and one of a kind performance!

For more information on the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, visit

More images from the event are in Ben Johnson's photo gallery

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Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.