Coal Train

Hugh Masekela

Freedom Beat Festival, 1986

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Masekela sang and played piano from an early age and was inspired to pick up the trumpet by the movie Young Man With a Horn loosely based on the life of Bix Beiderbecke.

He received his first horn from Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, the anti-apartheid chaplain at St. Peter’s Secondary School.

From the age of 15, his music reflected his protest against apartheid, slavery, and the South African government.

In 1959, Dollar Brand (later known as Abdullah Ibrahim), Kippie Moeketsi, Makhaya Ntshoko, Johnny Gertze and Hugh formed the Jazz Epistles.

They were the first African jazz group to record an LP and they performed to huge audiences in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

However, after March 21, 1960, Sharpeville Massacre and the increased brutality of the Apartheid state, Masekela left the country.


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