« Desert Island Discs

Classic Desert Island Discs: Hugh Masekela

2018-04-01 | 🔗
Another chance to listen to the world famous musician speaking to Sue Lawley in 2004. As a boy growing up in the impoverished townships of South Africa, he was inspired to learn the trumpet after seeing Kirk Douglas play Bix Beiderbecke in Young Man With A Horn. He begged one of his teachers - the anti-apartheid crusader Father Trevor Huddleston - to buy him a horn and in return he promised to stay out of trouble. Hugh soon made a name for himself in South Africa but as the racial tensions intensified during the 50s he decided he had to leave his homeland to get a better music education in America. There he quickly made a name for himself with his fusion of African jazz music and became a 'flower child' playing with some of the great bands of the decade: Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix and the Byrds. He's still probably best known for his number-one track, Grazing in the Grass, which sold four million copies worldwide in 1968. He returned to Africa in 1973, spending the next 17 years working on a range of musical collaborations in Botswana, Liberia, Nigeria, Congo and Guinea. Then, after thirty years in self-imposed exile, he returned to his homeland in 1990. Favourite track: Lilizela Mlilezeli by Mahlathini & the Mahotella Queens Book: Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens Luxury: A keyboard
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Welcome to desert island discs, we're currently taking a break, and so we thought it to be a good opportunity to showcase some of the best additions from our extensive treasure chest. We hope you enjoy them. This is the baby say hello, uncursed, a young, and this is a pod cost from the desert island discs archive for rights reasons we ve had to shorten the music. The programme was originally broadcast in two thousand and four and the present her was soon ali. Microsoft, week is a musician. He was born sixty five years ago into the appalling hardship of a black south african township. A party ruled
with his grandmother who ran in illegal drinking house, should being so. His prospects for a successful life was small. Luckily, for him, the campaigning priest trevor Huddleston bought him a trumpet on condition he kept out of trouble. His talent was obvious and that the age of twenty one helped by Huddleston and some eminent international musicians. He left his homeland for a career in amerika aid with some of the old time, great jimi, hendrix bob marley and the birds and became an inch National name himself, then, thirty years on at the invitation Nelson Mandela, he returned to his homeland. The man who escaped to be free could at last share his freedom with his countrymen. I never thought I'd become famous, none of it was planned. He says I most proud of the fact that I have survived he's hugh massacre taylor, so thirty years,
they from your home, hugh between the ages of what twenty one and fifty one you must during that time, I thought you'd, never see it again or your mood was. Impossible dream. I think bye. Bye may be made twentieth. The m at resolved, in my mind, very clearly that I would never see home again. I had been where to go in very my mother who died in a car accident that is leg as far away from home as you can get so em when we were told that we could go back they they impossible dream. So all that fame and fortune you found in america just didn't make up for anything. You just were always are fulfilled where you got back where I came from it. People who had struggled very hard to make me when I was and am was difficult to leg, except at the success? That is in no way? No with a lead
and let the dilemma and they cause beaches, consumption, where you knew that you came from people who are suffering, but what you're talking about feeling there, I suppose, is a sense of guilt, isn't it you were out, you were having a good time. You are making it and all those people of whom you come in. As you say, that was absolutely what you were. They may do what you learn. You feel guilty because things are getting worse for them as they got better for you, there's nothing loneliness exile, especially were among the first group of refugees to leave the country. Many many things and the first You hear music from home, that you missed it. your eyes right away as nostalgia, and I think you ve seen it in greek movies when they hear them with their movie music and drank a loser in other gonna thing, but I mean
It made went as far as sometimes going into central park and talking to myself alone, just ducking zulu and in it in so doing that africa slang than Adelina once A policeman game demeans edna those people behind you. a wondering if you ok, you know your case in as necessary and jump preserve Africana my tongue. I just got an stiff, and I had just dreamt in english. The lead before assembly that it never happened to me, be there and is it also everywhere? We spoke for another two hours. You know well walked alone with him in the park and he was in great empathy- and I was the first time it really head from the house is my the buzz of africa, but he knew about it. When am finishes at sanford's age occasion, and I wish you luck. We should hang a fast record. What is it
disregarded by my sardinia and my hotel greens is called lily sailor and at first, really heard it around the topmost I'm talking about. When I was in the fog but when I first heard this very good, I just you, This came to light was one of the most homesick nostalgic moments. When we learn tat, we had a deal
and I m hotel a green singing lilies ale, which means a regulator Julie. You delay, which means you lily, that's great stuff, but you I mean it wasn't just that that you heard is child was, it was american jazz as well. It also hit the spot or you're the first person, that really opened america for our imagination. And there was let's get a very typical south african personality in a very happy go lucky, so color sound than Louis Armstrong came from their generation before his were slaves. You know any idea. determine the america that language fantasized nervous. You would see him or listen to him and you would want to be here people at louis Well, you're right. We are all in all this. Would you will all imitated louis Armstrong, every
I do and when will it gives racing along with them, because it is wise men, one of your favorite songs was I'd, be glad you did you rascal? You know that a picture of you and in as a small boy. This was in width bank, which is what a coal mining to understand. Johannesburg, you live there with your group. Mothers, I sit in the universe alone. In my grandmother's homes delivered by midwives there My grandmother was whether the people who didn't want to work for white people, and so she opened it should be and should be in vegas big easy in illegal drinking. Ask us. Africans were not allowed to drink the basic whose was better sorghum beer, then just so bomba remember by others call but to an awesome, was a little more potent like almost like a moonshine legged changes like a home made thing mixed with them, and they,
many lethal mindset faced twisting lisbon but you are a boy you lived with her in this place and until he was six years old, my servant Moses, the dingy tasted do must have dropped dude Couldn't you know home or lead people? Love to kiss you a kid in their lives and was dripping at an end. Did you love a man to be drunk and she just hard when the breath you sick, I never thought I'd drink. In my life, a letter of Gaza became a major drink of myself, but down we'd bank was a coal mining town and was a real right wing, a lesion after gunnar town, very kids of regatta kids, callers monkeys It was very much like an american southern town at the beginning of the merit of the guys who intended to react when they called him monkeys.
were you raised to be very proud and next week, and we knew that it was our land and that these were usurpers. We would cleaner. There were more dignified than them and everyone we grew up. Wait. Wait, wait, lend to laugh at the opera. As an ethnic group in south africa press, I a much more painful tandon their breast commitments and from the rare goods, maybe Its aim was to go to new york. Obviously in one's game indecision. When I was six, my parents to get me away from the gramophone got me piano lessons. and again with red, classical ghana player. But wherever the teacher was looking at play, boogie and other stuff It came out with a louis armstrong, reykir reserve, indeed, european call them a rocking chair. in the end, it Louis We see with the word from one prayer, JAG tea garden,.
is one of the songs that I play almost that week doesn't pass by. When I wake up in the morning I go to playlist smile roger that. got you in a judgment It is good me, two mi Dewey Armstrong, injecting rocking chair. So it's gonna go when you had six hugh massacre taylor, you when you left your grandmother's, has went to live with
parents, didn't you and your father had a milk depot and so for uranium moved there both for the municipality of return. Close brings about thirty miles. East of johannesburg was a healthier spectre. He was also in- and I know this because a ritual autobiographies, or rather a violent man, wasn t yeah wendy, could be very well and could be extremely violent towards you towards everybody. two as anybody who messed with him, but there it wasn't low, always eliza, only one brutal bidding by my father and my mother, but it was very dramatic, say it was against this background of hardship and violence as well as a music. Did you decided that playing the trumpet was aware of escape a means of escape? Why would you do why did you suddenly think you haven't trumpets for me? I chose music when I saw a movie
called the young men with the han and was a stirrup bigs by the back in which a cook daedalus played is funded in an end in the movie. Could daedalus stood in front of the band is paid to solos, didn't take any rubbish from anybody war. The snazzy is gonna clothes and always got the girl, and I thought this would have. Brad a future in this than education and them within maybe a few months later was in bed with the fluid father has a new, both my parents, my file, my mother, was a social recommend and examine time ship, my father, chief inspector and elegance ass ever hudson, father trevor headless than was lay one of the most rapidly radical activists and he was a member of then an scene was another role. Is this? I knew my
parents- and I was very restless at this time- would play a friend and no friend of became a drummer. Glad to stumpy is still is now who took me to the movies brothers were both musicians in very.
Leading bands and they were getting into a lot of travel. Would one day I was in bed with a fluent, have skills and came to me said: what do you really want to do? Creature when you would really make you happy and asset for life and get a trumpet Ellen? Was anybody any my say shows it is a case where you get well. Let's talk about. It gave me a letter to go to politics music store. There was a scottish based play. The lead in this says men bob hill and is the dear bob. Please give this boy trumpet down. We can afford fifteen pounds and it gave me the trumpet like, came big and has the majority of planned. Yet a teacher for me, Harold ryan. I was fourteen and other boys wanted to learn the trumpet us wanted to play
instruments, event in further went to learn this ladys and soon, where the hell is that in jest ban, heatherstone jasmine was born gimme. That number three am around. This time we started listening to be bought can were listening to their de los ANG trembled glare, called miles. Davis, who displayed a new and very close their world, fell in love with him. All blues is always to me. Closing made miles Davis check
yeah, blue? is by miles Davis, trevor huddleston course with some a dedicated, as you said, his life to the struggle against a party, but he was deported wasn t a couple of years after he got you that first trumpet in the mid fifties. What what did you and your friends
kiss him when he was a white man who was prepared to help put himself on the line for irish than didn't make you feel like you is what matters you feel like it was a human being and made you feel like you, a human and he d have here: doo doo, doo doo get us focused on the excellence of humanity, our battle against a birthday. Wasn't it when people, because we have to realise that very many africans collaborated with their birthday. It very very many and in most of the police, were african so I suppose you were either an activist or you cooperated with the pessimism zuma eurasia is measured, was the right thing against the wrong thing. Yet the next getting course to going back to the fifties that trevor huddleston having being deported, did few was to get you another trumpet, but this time it was a really special. One was not tell me about
we're on his way back here? If the house than went through america within a few emissions and am with another member is community who was carrying a prayer? They went to listen to a louis armstrong coincidence, and this monk was a friend of Louis Armstrong say, took him backstage timid, lillian harrison by the band heads that it back home and I was in bed signed, a dim lay the first band he had played in, and it is vital that he was so moves in addressing in one of my eyes, one to data and then say you gotta such men on my guard when it arrived them and who is excited, but that Hon that introduces the music community reserve studied to help us in, like five of some seven of us is still vague messages today from that bin.
Economical, couldn't before during this time of course, dizzy gillespie he was doing, but she ban and useless They must, though, be bob's getting paranoid. You have akhabbu wherever they did it, and there he was gone. The cloud of Bebop he is dizzy, gillespie with a gun, alma man
yeah, disability plain come over it was one thousand nine hundred and sixty hugh Masekela. When you decided to leave south africa youtube n21 and of course it may not hear the shop film massacre had to cut one hundred and sixty nine peaceful protesters have been killed
gatherings. I think of more than ten people were banned, so you wouldn't have been able to play to any black audiences anyway, because they couldn't mass together. I presume that was part of the motivation of your going. I had been bugging, have listen. Get me out of here. Get me a scholarship births, and it pushed and then, through a year hoodie menuhin who had been in south africa and jolly dan graduate was I've been in south africa. They were deported from over half a million for hang in there too much with the natives and their journey dango. This initiative further the clear line. Where was his wife? They did, but it didn't because of asia's between blacks and whites. When other lands and navigate phelan morality. Egg said they spoke to the guild school of music in? They got a letter for me to be able to let go to school then, and there but there was still a source of hoops to jump through internally want there I mean you have to have money
you get, you couldn't just any to live there until four hundred pounds. They said in case, like you, are stranded overseas, two give a applying for a passport demanding fifty seven because it was imposing didn't, want you to go, and what was the feeling was a very sad freely because I never wanted to leave so therefore go that way I wanted to leave knowing I could come back, but there must have been a sense of elation as well that you had achieved. Is Europe no way I mean you didn't quite know where you were gonna, get your musical education. If you're on your way, you knew you had friends out there, whether in london or else, I was encouraged greatly, whether forget Miriam Macgyver at a year before and as you as a child friendly, and my teens, you really know a very hot item, together and they got a. I mean you married my laid the word. We were really leg: childhood sweetbreads in them she had leg achieved the dreams that we used to dream of uncle
he was like a hanging out with royalty jazz, amusing royalty, and you knew what you were going to a minimum, while others have been because she was writing to me in saying. I hope that she can come out here and then their when came the m a few months later, she just said: listen, you have to come to this data. That is good for you. It was laid the greatest opportunity and them the very first night I actually went to all the places where the people at home to see head like that in five years before, like jelly paca was not there anymore differed. Brown was meant anymore and where the most beautiful thing as a minnow as airline was Sarah maud, romanian bessie smith and then a washington. But when Play holiday sing a song with the colored lady, then she was so beautiful. It will all had a crash and add the day she dad will. We're very very said: it's teenagers it down
All his sons were just about leg, the tragedies of love, but nobody expressed it better than billie holiday. You ve changed yeah yeah billy holiday and you ve changed. So it all happened, few hugh in the states to as they put it. This little african guy who was blowing the proverbial out of the trumpet in other world, suddenly became your voice. Do you met your heroes, Armstrong gillespie. In Davis, you recorded with married Miriam the cable. You made a solo album
You went to allay played with bob marley in the, but I mean you know it couldn't have been bigger or better, but all the time I think you are under surveillance. Weren't, you boss, the south african secret service were watching you and I think I am right in thinking that in a couple of a heavy from both did come round and sort of war, nude nato or even at one point, did they not invite you back to south africa? There was let the height of my success, the pinnacle of my success will lead the number one right, good them in the states. Grazing gus grazing and the grass, and then I was plain. The village get word started and added. A week, soda their engagement there and that time, I was on the journey cousin show in the move. Griffiths in our leading shows- and I talked about what is happening- is that ever again international public relations meant that africa was based in new york.
Kay man to the show I than his em you killing us in giving as bad publicity and on these programmes, and we read unappreciated, you know, but there were to be fair, we lag, to come home and see for yourself. The danger is that we are making me no country and am invited me to come back to set up to see for myself and that they would put me up the cardinal tell whether that time was like the savoy ass. I love rigour again come as a honorary white and there was it that this programme was it. You are inviting me to my own country that you have use it as an honorary. Why does the biggest answer them?
I asked him to leave, get the hell out of my dressing room, and am he left me with a warning was well. We will get you, you don't want to leg work with us and you keep doing this to us. We'll get you and somehow economics, of day Peter. I decided to go in a pilgrimage to west africa. I am first went to desire. That was my first stop my pilgrimage in them. I hope now that the people of the letters that at head and franco is the king of congolese music in where the funniest, the most generous people, edit his own club, called under law. I was just in music given one what time it felt like the first night I went to see disagreements be india
These families very frank congou. You had a good life in the states here before you internet african pilgrimage. You lived large, you said in malibu, you had ferraris in january and sound you ve written that you probably squandered about fifty million pounds on you in your life on binges women and bad decisions that much
What do you think so and when you add a leg em, why do you lose? You know what you done, what what? What? What do you get cancer for? Because you don't show up, because the irresponsible that I mean when I was at the time of my game at I had makes bad and prepare for that kind of success. I wasn't prepared for it, but you had an inner background in your family. You, it's heavy drinking and so perhaps it was not all. I live family, but I came from one of the most addictive countries in the world When I started with marijuana and in south africa, but when I came to the the states, especially to the california, discovered cocaine into what we call the gunners drug loop and it was a time of timothy, Larry and lsd,
and there we all will I get all the flower children all of california. When did you finally kitten s? Drinkin drugs was ninety. Ninety seven and I came to england to mental health missing home with the help of my friends and missis. Then everyone gave at the bed. I gave the psychology of addiction is I'm doing that do finally eggs that it later on in something that happens from the fact that you, us hiding a load of heard that you ve never really expressed a team from the time. I was a child, because the music was my main focus to a sudden, extended in an anesthetic gaze on the pay panes of the violence of africa. Violence in my family dysfunctional
relationships on my favorite. In the fact that most of my mother's side of my family, the dead from from exempt from my grandmother and has this they're all dead from alcohol abuse, altering or more miracle I've had been to me in the phenomena have to six years. Since I stopped then happened, in the forty four years ago was addicted and then one my greatest friends who is as a leg and a great intervention, is today's david Crosbie, and in there sixty seven were no short lived at. Madame he introduced me to disregard the bulgarian woman's choir. They said you gotta hear this man is, and what is your mother said? I don't know, but you got to hear this because his district
glad to meet sunlight. A deep out of their duty forest in the congo the bulgarian women's clan, and that track was called rapidly, so humor cicada. What? If south Africa today it's what fourteen years since the release of mandela decade? Now, since the agency came to pardon there still shanty towns and the huge amount of poverty on its long haul, isn't it to pull over?
people out of poverty is gonna, dig a few generations, maybe in the next ten years I mean there's a lot of facilities that had been made available for many people, for millions of people now have electricity and water. Many many people have like free medical care, free education, But this you know, is a drop in the ocean is a drop in the ocean, but is in progress the worst sort of looked at as a miracle country, the expected as too languid and then be singing heidi high, heidi hole into the sunset saw miracles, I expected of us, but you can't fix a country in ten years time. The question for you there has to be that there's a small boy somewhere around johannesburg, who wants to play the trumpet you knew, would succeed in making it all his chances greater than yours. Well, I've been there.
For us, not the new dot is not making it overseas is making it at home, because now we ve got our freedom throughout Africa. We need to build an infrastructure within africa where we're reclaim labour entertainment in the council so that I'm musicians leaving africa to come. In seek fame. A broader education should be. The exception. Is that of the rule. If we can capture that as angle live like going a long way and as logical, Z. Those is this has been a wonderful problem with I've been able to leg play some of my most favoured amusing, but still, I think that If it wasn't for Louis Armstrong, the world would still be square and who would never have been sitting here me and you, because I think he gave birth to all of us. He gave birth to mass. There is to look to disagree, less proclivity, bron, just a leg,
the whole movement of modern, music and modern life, and then ass. The most wonderful thing about Leon strong is a day he shed, which so many great leaders have the quality of generosity and peace never forgetting his big bad man, that's sad, Why the answer. Sleepy time down south right, three questions to end with the first is: if you could any take one of those eight records which one would you take,
If I had to take those wreckers, I think a burly take mr dini in the market and the greens and I think of everything I've ever longed for when I was away from home was that feel that they give enough led the community that I grew up in second question is: are we give you, the bible, imma. Give you the completeness of shakespeare. What book of urine would you to take. I don't know. I think I would take em, probably just Higgins book, which one m probably Nicholas nickleby because again did did parallels my story. Very much of a boy came from lake. Their provision to make it. I just enjoy description of every character, especially mr squares, and then you get one,
Where did again take a keyboard with me in some kind of keep, but even invisibility Piana. It would probably be a great vacation fully with just be able to rise at that time to rights as an arrow, my sons of the keyboard and to have a keyboard would be the luxury human cicada. Thank you very much indeed, for letting is he your desk, island discs. Thank you very much for inviting me was the joy and a real pleasure being with the bill for the privilege. You ve been listening to a port castro. Desert island industry accounts for more podcast. Please visit bbc dot co de uk slash.
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Transcript generated on 2022-06-11.