Two of South Africa’s true freedom fighters and renowned musical icons come together to honor twenty years since the start of democracy in South Africa, and the official end of Apartheid. In a collaborative performance with a band, Hugh Masekela and Vusi Mahlasela will pay homage in 20 Years of Freedom: featuring South Africa’s Freedom Songs, including many of their own. While both artists have been like-minded musical comrades at home in South Africa for years and shared the stage on several occasions, this marks their debut tour joining forces together.
Vusi Mahlasela, is simply known as ‘The Voice’ in his home-country, celebrated for his distinct, powerful voice and his poetic, optimistic lyrics. His songs of hope connect Apartheid-scarred South Africa with its promise for a better future. Raised in the Mamelodi Township, where he still resides, Vusi became a singer-songwriter and poet-activist at an early age teaching himself how to play guitar and later joining the Congress of South African Writers. After his popular debut on BMG Africa, When You Come Back, Vusi was asked to perform at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration in 1994. Vusi has shared the stage with Dave Matthews Band, Sting, Paul Simon, and Taj Mahal, among many others. Perhaps his biggest gig was in 2010 when he helped ring in the World Cup in South Africa, at Orlando Stadium in Soweto. Vusi has released seven studio albums to-date; his latest release is Sing to the People (ATO Records), a celebratory live recording looking back on twenty years since his first album.
Hugh Masekela is a world-renowned flugelhornist, trumpeter, bandleader, composer, singer and defiant political voice who remains deeply connected at home, while his international career sparkles. In 1968, his instrumental single ‘Grazin’ in the Grass’ went to Number One on the American pop charts and was a worldwide smash, elevating Hugh onto the international stage. His subsequent solo career has spanned 5 decades, during which time he has released over 40 albums (and been featured on countless more) and has worked with such diverse artists as Harry Belafonte, Dizzy Gillespie, The Byrds, Fela Kuti, Marvin Gaye, Herb Alpert, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and the late Miriam Makeba. In 1990 Hugh returned home, following the unbanning of the ANC and the release of Nelson Mandela – an event anticipated in Hugh’s anti-apartheid anthem ‘Bring Home Nelson Mandela’ (1986) which had been a rallying cry around the world.