Hugh Masekela the critic

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In an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 News Hugh Masekela, who will perform at the opening ceremony of the 2010 World, speaks the obvious about the long-term meaning of the World Cup.  “The World Cup is a passing fancy. It won’t be there on July 12. And South Africa will still have its problems.” That does not mean you can’t enjoy the tournament.

What is more interesting, however, is his take on the current state of South African music. The reporter asks him about “new music,” particularly the remixes built around Julius Malema or the now-famous “touch me in my studio” remark by a black journalist to a white supremacist guest who had threatened the host.

Masekela says he’s not impressed and that it is not music.

I disagree with him that it is not music. But I agree with him that the remixes are uninteresting.

* BTW, the second remix derive from what is a more interesting song, JR’s “Make the circle bigger, bigger,”a song  about which I will say more another time.

Sean Jacobs



Sean Jacobs

Also goes by Hasan Wazan. Life President.

  1. Amen– I finally got to listen to this. I would love to hear what he has to say about Rokia Troure's comments.

    To be fair there has to be a happy medium, but I will still stick to the oldies.

  2. @chris –a different Chris: My sense he would agree with her. If you look at his own career, he has rejected the false dichotomy between "modernity" and "tradition," whether in terms of what the songs are about or the style.

    For example, in a song like "Stimela," instead of either songs that long for an idyllic Eden for blacks, he sings about capitalism.

    And in his early work, he collaborated/ drew on African American musicians, other African musicians (Fela, Osibisa) who incorporate funk etc into their music.

    Nothing exotic with that.

    At the same time, his music has been happy too. You can dance to it.

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