Sunday, January 28, 2018

HUGH MASEKELA (4 APRIL 1939 – 23 JANUARY 2018): A MASTER TRUMPETER AND JAZZ MUSICIAN


Hugh Ramapolo Masekela was a South African trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer and singer. He has been described as the "Father of South African jazz." He was born on April 4, 1939, in Witbank, South Africa, a coal-mining town near Johannesburg. His father, Thomas Selema Masekela, was a health inspector and noted sculptor; his mother, Pauline Bowers Masekela, was a social worker.

Through the support of Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, an influential anti-apartheid advocate and organizer, Hugh Masekela learnt the rudiments of trumpet playing from the leader of the then Johannesburg "Native" Municipal Brass Band, Uncle Sauda. He thereafter formed his first band the Huddleston Jazz Band (South Africa's first youth orchestra) with his school mates.
From 1954, Masekela played music that closely reflected his life experience. By 1956, after leading other ensembles, Masekela joined Alfred Herbert’s African Jazz Revue. During a trip to the United States, he met Louis Armstrong, who gave him a trumpet as a gift.

The agony, conflict, and exploitation South Africa faced during the 1950s and 1960s inspired and influenced Hugh Masekela to make music and spread political change. He was an artist who in his music vividly portrayed the struggles and sorrows, as well as the joys and passions of his country.
In 1960, Mr. Masekela moved briefly to London, where he studied at the Guildhall School of Music, before the singers Harry Belafonte and Miriam Makeba helped him secure a scholarship to attend the Manhattan School of Music. He studied classical trumpet there for four years.

In 1962, he recorded his debut album, “Trumpet Africaine,” for the Mercury label. He followed it in 1964 with “Grrr,” also on Mercury. That album — which featured the trombonist Jonas Gwangwa, a veteran of the Jazz Epistles who had also relocated to New York — included many Masekela originals that reflected his devotion to his musical roots.
During this time, Hugh Masekela often wrote instrumental arrangements for another South African born superstar Miriam Makeba. Their partnership turned romantic, and the couple married in 1964. The marriage ended in divorce two years later, but the two later continued to collaborate.

Hugh Masekela had hits in the United States with the pop jazz tunes "Up, Up and Away" (1967) and the number-one smash hit "Grazing in the Grass" (1968), which sold four million copies.
In the 1970s, Masekela toured Sub-Sarahan Africa and began a partnership with the Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti, who had recently pioneered the genre known as Afrobeat.
In 1980, Hugh Masekela settled in Botswana, where he set up a mobile recording studio and recorded two albums. In 1987, he traveled to London to record the album “Tomorrow,” which included “Mandela (Bring Him Back Home).”
Mr. Masekela moved back to South Africa in 1990, the year Mandela was released from prison. He continued to record and tour around the world into his mid-70s.

In 2010, Hugh Masekela was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in gold, South Africa’s highest medal of honour. Since 2014, Soweto has been the site of an annual Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival, with the stated aim “to restore our South African heritage and to uplift the local artisans of Soweto.”

Hugh Ramapolo Masekela died in Johannesburg on the early morning of 23rd January 2018 from prostate cancer, aged 78.



Wednesday, December 27, 2017

EXPLORING CONTEMPORARY GOSPEL MUSIC AS A COMMERCIAL SUCCESS


Time has gone when gospel music was only played in the churches and crusade grounds. Today contemporary gospel artistes have continued to explore the endless opportunities aimed at bringing gospel music to the masses.
Gospel music is composed and performed for many purposes, including aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, and as an entertainment product for the marketplace.
There is no point remaining poor playing gospel music and believing your reward is in heaven when God in His infinite mercy has made every opportunity available for gospel artistes to explore in the contemporary world.

Do you still have that song with you? Get a producer and book studio sessions. Work diligently on your song and push it out to the market and see what God can do. This might just be that breakthrough you have been waiting for. The time to start is now! 
EMEKS MUSIC

Thursday, October 26, 2017

LUCKY DUBE (1964 – 2007) A REMEMBRANCE

Lucky Philip Dube was born on 3rd August 1964 in Ermelo, Mpumalanga, South Africa. He was a South African reggae musician and Rastafarian. He recorded 22 albums in Zulu, English and Afrikaans in a 25-year period and was South Africa's biggest-selling reggae artist. Dube was murdered in the Johannesburg suburb of Rosettenville on the evening of 18 October 2007.

Lucky Dube started his music career early in life in a local choir from where he formed his first music group The Skyway Band with his friends. At age 18, he joined his cousin’s band The Love Brothers playing Zulu pop music known as Mbaqanga. He was later exposed to the Rastafarian Movement and began to write and perform reggae songs. He noted that his fans were responding positively to his reggae songs. Lucky then drawing inspiration from Jimmy Cliff and Peter Tosh felt the socio-political messages associated with Jamaican reggae were relevant to a South African audience in an institutionally racist society.

Lucky Dube’s big break in the commercial reggae came with the release of “Think About The Children” in 1985. It achieved platinum sales status and established Dube as a popular reggae artist in South Africa, in addition to attracting attention outside his homeland. The rest they say is history, suffice it to say that Dube continued to release commercially successful albums till his sudden death in the hands of armed robbers in Johannesburg. Some of the most popular and successful albums recorded by Lucky Dube include: Slave (1987); Prisoner (1989); Captured Live (1990); House of Exile (1991); Victims (1993); Trinity 1995); Soul Taker (2001); and Respect (2006).

Lucky Dube won several international awards including "Best Selling African Recording Artist" at the World Music Awards; and the "International Artist of the Year" at the Ghana Music Awards both in 1996.

Rest on Great Son of Africa! Your music lives on!

Emeka E. Okeke
EMEKS MUSIC

Friday, June 23, 2017

PUFF DADDY (SEAN JOHN COMBS) IS THE WORLD’S RICHEST ENTERTAINER IN 2017

Rapper and music producer Sean “Diddy” Combs formally known as Puff Daddy was named the world’s highest-paid entertainer in 2017 by Forbes with an estimated net worth of $820 million. It said that Combs, earned an estimated $130 million in the 12 months ended June 1, 2017, which was attributed to the big pay-out to his Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour, earnings from his Sean John clothing line, and his partnership with Ciroc vodka.

Sean John Combs was born on November 4, 1969 in Harlem, United States and was raised in Mount Vernon, New York. He is also known by his stage names Puff Daddy, Puffy, P. Diddy and Diddy. He is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, actor, record producer and entrepreneur. He worked as a talent director at Uptown Records Uptown before founding his label Bad Boy Entertainment in 1993.

Puff Daddy’s debut album “No Way Out” (1997) has been certified seven times platinum and was followed by successful albums such as “Forever” (1999), “The Saga Continues…” (2001), and “Press Play” (2006). In 2009 Combs formed the musical group Diddy-Dirty Money and released the critically well-reviewed and commercially successful album “Last Train to Paris” (2010).

Combs has won three Grammy Awards and two MTV Video Music Awards, and is the producer of MTV’s “Making the Band”. He is the Chairman and CEO of Combs Enterprises.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

“DESPACITO” THE BIGGEST SONG IN THE WORLD IN 2017!

After two years without releasing new music, Luis Alfonso Rodríguez López-Cepero with a stage name “Luis Fonsi” wanted to create a fun track that had that Latin feel with a melody that he feels very comfortable singing and that will make people just dance.

The song “Despacito” was originally composed as a cumbia and pop song with lyrics written as a ballad, but Luis Fonsi began to consider giving it an "urban injection" and contacted reggaeton artist Daddy Yankee (Ramón Luis Ayala Rodríguez), who agreed to collaborate on the song after Fonsi played him the demo.

The rest is history, suffice it to say that the collaboration yielded a super hit “Despacito” which has become the longest-running foreign language number one in UK chart history. And it's been viewed more than a billion times on YouTube! “Despacito” is currently the most popular and the biggest song in the word.
"Despacito" is a reggaeton-pop song composed in common time 4/4 and written in the key of B minor with a tempo of 89 beats per minute and a chord progression of Bm—G—D—A.

Apart from toping the charts in USA since February 2017, “Despacito” has continued to top the charts of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Uruguay and Venezuela. In short all over the world, the song to sing now is “Despacito”!


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

GOSPEL AND CHRISTIAN MUSIC: ANY DIFFERENCE?

Christian music is a music that reflects the good values and morals of human beings, often categorized as edifying music. Music that causes you to think positively, do, or desire to do things inline with the Christian value system. It reflects God's good nature, values and morals. 
Don't be fooled by people expecting the word of God to come up in every lyric for it to be Christian and the lack of a religious word in the song makes it secular. That is just based upon many Christians misunderstanding between church music and Christian music.
Christian music is a branch of the music industry which includes many genres of music. For hundreds of years, Christians have been writing music in all types of genres with a Christian message. Generally, Christian music can exist in any type or genre! Every good thing comes from God. 
Gospel music is different because it is solely about good news. What makes Gospel music is the message. Gospel music is not always happy. Sometimes it is sad, but with understanding that it will be better. Gospel music is a personal testimony, that restate the word of God, and his many promises to his people.