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Masekela, Dyer jet in for Tuku Dinner

HARARE – South African musicians Hugh Masekela and Steve Dyer arrived in Harare on Tuesday night for the “Tuku Dinner” to be held tonight in honour of Zimbabwe’s own music legend Oliver Mtukudzi.

Oliver Mtukudzi with friends Ringo, Steve Dyer and Dorothy Masuka last year for his 60th Birthday Celebrations
Oliver Mtukudzi with friends Ringo, Steve Dyer and Dorothy Masuka last year for his 60th Birthday Celebrations

The dinner organised by FBC Bank is slated for the Rainbow Towers and it’s a black-tie event for invited guests only.

“We are happy that Hugh and Steve are already here and the rest of the foreign musicians will be arriving tomorrow (today),” Sam Mataure of Harare Jazz Festival, the organisers of the event said.

Masekela is one of South Africa’s greatest trumpeters and a favourite of many in Zimbabwe.

Popularly known as Bra Hugh to his fans, Masekela started music in the 1940s, in the small town of Witbank, where he played the piano to small audiences. Nurturing his inspiration came from the movie “Young Man With a Horn”.

He knew he wanted to blow the trumpet. In 1954, at the age of 14, anti-apartheid activist Archbishop Trevor Huddlestone gave Masekela his first trumpet, which saw the beginning of a man who was to become known worldwide as Bra Hugh.

Young and inspired by his township roots, the young boy blossomed under the tutorship of the leader of the Johannesburg Native Municipal Brass Band, Uncle Sauda, who taught him the basics of the trumpet.

This led to the formation of the Huddleston Jazz Band, South Africa’s first youth orchestra. Soon, he was playing in other bands, finally joining the African Jazz Revue in 1956. Two years later, he joined the Manhattan Brothers on their national tour and played in South Africa’s first theatrical success, King Kong, which went to London’s West End for two years.

The young man’s star was rising. In 1959 Bra Hugh joined several groups including Jazz Epistles.

On the other hand, Dyer is a good friend of Mtukudzi and at one time they featured in a regional group called Mahube. According to Dyer, he lived in Zimbabwe before he relocated to South Africa where he continues to work with several musicians.

A must-attend gig is on tomorrow at the Harare International Conference Centre where a host of musicians are billed to perform including BaShupi, Munya Mataruse, Tehn Diamond, Prayer Soul, Cynthia Mare and Junior Brown.

All the musicians will be backed by an all-star band comprising Clive Mukundu on guitar, Enock Piroro on bass, Jairos Hambahamba on keyboards, Strover Maswobe and Othenell Moyo on percussion, Alice Muringayi, Fiona Gwena as well as Tino Bimha on backing vocals.

However, the presence of Masekela at the tribute dinner and concert will be most welcome.

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