Yesterday, I went to see, the AMAZING Hugh Masekela in his latest production called Songs of Migration at the Hackney Empire. With train journeys as a central theme, the production through songs in English, Zulu, Yiddish and Afrikaans explores the emotions associated with migration, the hope of a bright future, the weight of responsiblity, and the yearning for those that have travelled.
The stage is set with suitcases, and the production starts with the band playing a hypnotic riff before the male and female ensembles emerge, followed by the Sibongile Khumalo, whose voice has the smoothness of Ella Fitzgerald and provided the perfect contrast to the strength and raspiness of Hugh’s voice.
Hugh Masekela came out onto the stage in a purple jacket and a loud red tie. To be honest, he reminded me a bit of my Dad… but then he dropped some moves that would have challenged James Brown and made Michael Jackson take notes. The man did some slides, dropped down and came up again, moved his hips and generally danced like a man a quarter of his age… which my Dad would not have been able to contemplate let alone attempt. Then he picked up his trumpet and the next thing I knew it was two hours later and I didn’t even realise it. They played, sang, danced, rapped, lamented, prayed, spoke and cracked jokes for two hours NON STOP.
If you get a chance to go, I would highly recommend it. I took a few pictures…