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Hugh Masekela: Time

Trumpeter/flugelhornist/vocalist Hugh Masekela once again honors his heritage on Time (Columbia), a collection of originals and cover tunes that reflects his love for the South African people and decries the atrocities they endured under apartheid.

Many of the songs were inspired by apartheid’s inhumane conditions, yet their melodies are uplifting and buoyant. Witness “Send Me,” a gospel number that, as Masekela’s album notes explain, invokes the spirit of community service to help alleviate poverty-related societal ills. The bright “Happy Mama” is about women separated from their families when they were imprisoned during apartheid, while the poignant instrumental “Mamoshaba” is a traditional Guinean folk song condemning the harsh rule of colonial French regimes that Masekela adapted and dedicated to his grandmother, whose demise was precipitated by brutal treatment at the hands of the apartheid government.

Not every song on Time is political. “Magic” is a gentle love song, “Conchita” celebrates Masekela’s appreciation of Latin music and “Old People, Old Folks” is a playful reminder that the love of music isn’t the exclusive province of the young.

Originally Published