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Hugh Masekela: Live at the Market Theatre

Hugh Masekela should look less pained than he does on the cover of Live at the Market Theatre. The Johannesburg venue itself, celebrating its 30th anniversary when Masekela headlined in June 2006, is a proud symbol of the struggle against apartheid, having refused to segregate when such an act was still unheard of in South Africa. And Masekela himself, back home since the early ’90s after decades in exile, remains a worshiped figure there. This event should have been a celebration.

But contentment has never been a hallmark of Masekela’s character, and jazz has never been just music to him, but rather the sound of a people rising above. In his hoary voice and his unflappable playing, Masekela shoulders countless historical burdens, and though there is a joyousness to be heard, his work won’t be done until he’s done working.

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