Hugh Masekela-Riot

from 7″ (Uni, 196?)

My first introduction to Hugh Masekela was a few years ago when I stumbled on his book while doing research for an article. I was actually skimming through his auto biography looking for specific information on the musician I was researching, only to be disappointed and find very little worth the time. So, I flipped to the beginning and started to read his story. After reading the biography, I was baffled at how, in my obsessive and compulsive obsession with records, I had managed never to buy a Masekela record. . .so I went out and bought this 45.

Sadly, I didn’t learn my lesson. The 45 found it’s way to the bottom of my queue and it laid there neglected for about six months. Until one evening, while I was over a friends house for dinner, he played the track. As soon as I got home, I dug it up and played it late into the night.

What struck me about the 45 is that Masekela, with grace and charm, tells stories through his music. Narrative of growing up in apartheid South Africa, of losing his way, of finding success, and of transforming and rebuilding his country through music are communicated in his playing. Yes, this all sounds hokey, but it’s hard to deny the presence of these themes in his music. “Riot,” is one of his tracks that does it especially well; so many stories are conveyed in this short (but sweet) track. I could go on, but sometimes you just need to listen. . .

2 Responses to “Riot”

  1. jesse Says:

    is this the same song joe bataan sings,or is it another song?

  2. DJ Solespin Says:

    KR! Your knowledge reins strong man!

    Thanks for “Riot”. I heard the podcast where you played the song, but I never knew who did it. I was going write you and ask you, but got sidetracked.

    Is this song on the “Grazing In The Grass” album?? If it is, I think the track is dated as 1968.

    Peace and let me know when you’re going to be in Montreal next. I want you to make an appearance on ECLECTRICITY!

Leave a Reply