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Bra Hugh Masekela: The king of collaboration

Whether it was kwaito meets jazz, or hip- hop reinventing jazz, Hugh Masekela was one of the few icons in this country who pioneered the collaboration of jazz music with different genres.

His ever-growing curiosity with the pulse of the township sound made him eagerly embrace new sounds produced by young musicians that bridged the generational gaps in our music landscape.

One of his first key collaborations that endeared Masekela to a younger crowd was with Bongo Maffin's Thandiswa Mazwai on the party starter and evergreen hit Thanayi.

The two went on to collaborate again years later on Mazwai's banging Ingoma and their fusion of deep African musicality with a world view always produced magic when they were together on stage.

One of the most featured musicians in Masekela's oeuvre is Zimbabwean icon Oliver Mtukudzi. Their musical bromance went on to produce chart toppers such as Tapera and Bhiza raMambo.

Masekela also collaborated with musical heavyweights, including Tsepo Tshola, Busi Mhlongo, J-Something, Mafikizolo, Jeff Maluleke and many more.

Unfortunately, his much-anticipated stage collaboration with hip-hop star Riky Rick that was to feature in his series of concerts over the festive season was not to be due to his ill-health.

Masekela invited a mixture of both young and old in the production of his latest offerings that saw the best in local jazz circles, from Abigail Kubeka to Stewart Levine, Don Laka, Miriam Makeba and Sipho Hotsix Mabuse, who worked with him on various projects.

His collaborations and musical legacy is firmly entrenched in our history with his contributions including some of the most successful exported musical projects that came out of this country that includes Sarafina, Graceland and Songs of Migration.

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