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  • Writer's pictureThuthukani "TK" Ndlovu

Oliver Mtukudzi & Hugh Masekela tribute

Updated: Jan 25, 2019

//This article is dedicated to 2 African great music legends. May their souls #RIP//

Greetings fam. On the 23rd of January this year, we lost one of Africa's most prominent music legends "Dr Oliver Mtukudzi" - popularly known as "Tuku". He passed away in Harare, on the same day that another Africa music icon "Hugh Masekela" (who passed away on the 23rd of January 2018). Tuku was not only a national Zimbabwean legend, but a great musician celebrated across the African continent and the rest of the world. He was well-known across the world for hit songs such as Neria and Todii, and I must say that Todii is still one of my favourite songs out of all the songs he did within the 50+ albums he released in his lifetime.

Oliver and Hugh were not just Jazz legends, but also great long-time-friends. Hugh was a trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer, singer, and was described as "the father of South African jazz." He was well known for his jazz compositions & for writing popular anti-apartheid songs like "Soweto Blues" and "Bring Him Back Home".

[Oliver Mtukudzi and Hugh Masekela on stage - Photocred: Sowetanlive]

I was really looking forward to Tuku performing in eSwatini in May at the MTN Bushfire Festival, as he was one of the main headlining acts of the festival. I actually didn't believe the first tweet I saw about his death, because it was quite a lot to take in and hard to believe, but when everyone start sharing their condolences and the moments they shared with the legend, I had not choice but to believe that he had indeed passed on. He was such an iconic figure, and inspired a lot of musicians from around the world. Any way, I've decided to share with you some of my favourite jams / videos, because even though he may have physically left us, he will continue to live on through his music.

The first video I'll share is of him performing at the NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert at the White House. I actually don't know any other Zimbabwean musician that has been privileged to perform on such a platform, so this just shows the calibre that Tuku had. It blew my mind the first time I saw the video, but I was not surprised because of the positive impact he made towards the music industry. The second video is of one his performances where performed the song "Hear me Lord" at Reggae on the River in 2004. It's also on my top 10 list of Tuku's songs. The 3rd and final video is a beautiful cover of "Neria"performed by Jeremy Olivier at The Voice SA 2 years ago.

Last year in September, Tuku released a new version of the classic song "Neria" featuring Ladysmith Black Mambazo, which you can watch here. Tributes from around the world continue to pour in for the Zimbabwean Afro - Jazz legend who's music spoke volumes. You can read some of the messages share via the tag #OliverMtukudzi . Feel free to comment on this article with some of you favourite songs by Tuku.

Moving onto Bra Hugh, some of my all time favourite jams has to be "Grazing in the grass" (Listen here) and "Thuma mina - Send me" which is the first video I'd like to share with from this legend. Whenever I play this track I gotta put it on repeat. Every time someone mentions Hugh Masekela, the following words play in my mind "I wanna be there when the people start to turn t around, when they triumph over poverty". These are the opening lyrics to the song which featured in his album "Time". The second video is "Heaven in you ft. J'Something" (Tuku ironically also featured on a house track produced by Dj Stavo called "Mwedzi Muchena"), and the 3rd and final song I'll share is one that features both legends Dr Oliver Mtukudzi and bra Hugh Masekela: "Tapera" was released in 2017 on bra Hugh's album "No borders", and it was great to see both talented musicians teaming up on the song. I hope you enjoy the songs, and once again, feel free to share some of your favourite songs as well.

Well, that brings us to the end of this article. I hope you enjoyed the songs that we shared. The Radioactive blog sincerely hopes that both these legends continue to Rest in eternal peace, and we would like to thank them for their great contribution to the international music industry. Their music will definitely continue to play a significant role in our lives. Peace [@2tukani]


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