Masekela Jazz meets Steel pan

By Nicosia Smith

It may well be an explosive combination, of steel pan and trumpet.

The juicy, racy and up tempo, steel pan music, with the jazzy, ethnic, sometimes blues notes of the trumpet.

In this case with an internationally renowned trumpeter.

South African Hugh Ramopolo Masekela has made a collaborative CD with Trinidad and Tobago, Petrotrin Siparia Deltones Steel Orchestra.

Over ten years ago at the San Fernando Jazz festival, he heard and fell in love with the sound of the Deltones. Hence the collaboration.

Now, carnival sounds is meeting the unique African cultural and ethnic take on jazz.

I have not yet heard the mix, but this collaborative effort was widely reported last year in T&T.

Hugh Ramopolo Masekela (Nicosia Smith photo)

Hugh Ramopolo Masekela (Nicosia Smith photo)

While he is a world-renowned trumpeter, he likes to play that down. I realized this when we spoke. He is also straight forward and speaks his mind. For example, he loan me his hat to take a photo with him, not wanting my hair style to get in the way.Joint works like these, I believe stretches the scope of music, and introduces audiences to new and innovative sounds. And this is important toward bridging the  musical and cultural gaps that currently exist.

For example, a younger generation is now introduced to the freedom songs and jazz of Masekela and he to theirs.

And the collaborations continued this year, as Masekela, told me on his way to T&T last month, from New York.

Masekela favorites are Bring him back Home, a song during the apartheid era in South African to free Nelson Mandela and Stimela (Cold Train).

So play on, play on  Masekela and the Deltones, let the trumpet and steel pan rhythm lead.


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