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The 2020 Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival: The magic you find when truth and sound meet

The 2020 Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival, taking place online on Sunday, December 13,  at, features a line up of musicians who can all attest to the eminence of Bra Hugh, and his abiding influence on South African music, not to mention his rich contribution to the lineage of live music performers.

Joining a line up including Gloria Bosman, Mandla Mlangeni, Sio and others is vocalist and songwriter Zoë Modiga. Ahead of Sunday’s event, she answered a few questions on Bra Hugh’s influence on her craft.

The pan Africanist spirit of your album recalls some of the music Hugh was making in the Seventies on his journey across the continent. What do you feel you have in common with him as far as your approach to music?

Thank you! To be likened to Bra Hugh’s musical sensibilities even in the most minuscule way is beautiful. I believe the commonality is in the message, a love of self, a love of my people and our layered, complex yet beautiful existence. I believe Bra Hugh’s music was so instrumental in that lesson for me and I’m glad it resonates to the point of one experiencing it in my music. 

How will you be seeking to pay tribute to him with your performance?

I wish to love on his legacy with music from my sophomore album, Inganekwane and I will be doing a special cover of one of his songs. 

How has the process of recording and writing your current album influenced your thinking around music and live performance?

I have a deep love for music and live performance and I believe this album allows me to be a true orator to my perspective and to use the message to uplift people. It further reaffirms the magic I already knew was there. The magic you find when truth and sound meet. 

Your performances seem especially tailored for the listening experience but also the visual aspects of it. What would someone who hasn’t seen you live be missing out on?

My performances do consider audio and visual aspects and I’d say they are quite self – explanatory. One would have to come and find out. 

What are your favourite Bra Hugh songs and why?

I love so many though right now Bokone is at the top of my mind. I love the chants, the rhythmic elements, the horn sounds, the beautiful layers the song plays with. It sends me into a euphoric trance. I can listen to the track over and over again.

Presented by Assupol, and produced by Semopa Entertainment, this year’s festival will be a free access online affair available on on Sunday the 13th of December at 8pm.

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Kwanele Sosibo
Kwanele Sosibo
Kwanele Sosibo is the editor of Friday, the arts and culture section of the Mail and Guardian.

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