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Caribbean

Published on May 27th, 2013 | by Gary Cardinez - Trinidad Express Newspapers

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Masekela Fulfils Promise to T&T

Internationally-accalimed musician/composer/arranger/producer Hugh Masekela of South Africa is at present fulfilling a promise he made 10 years ago.  Masekela is currently in Trinidad supervising and recording an album with Petrotrin Siparia Deltones. A collaboration which was discussed in 2003 when he came here for the San Fernando Jazz Festival. In Trinidad since May 2, we caught up with Masekela and Deltones at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (South) where they were doing an on stage recording last Thursday.
Deltones players were all excited while a very cool Masekela just listened as they played. One noticed engineer Zahir Khan and Masekela speaking in hushed tones every time the 12 piece band had finished a song. Arranger Carlton Zanda was seated in the left wing of the stage just listening.  During a break in the recording session, a short conversation with both Zanda and Masekela revealed that they are both very humble and constantly gave each other praise. Pointing to Zanda, Masekela said, “This is a genius, he is the man doing the orchestration of the songs. He is very good.”  Zanda on the other hand is praising Masekela for his worth but the South African native simply said, “I am not great, this is great (touching a tenor pan) you have a great instrument in the pan. What we are doing is like nothing you have heard before.”
A gentle reminder of the days (1978) when he recorded an album with Herb Alpert with songs like “Skokiaan” and “Happy Hanna” brought a smile to Masekela’s face but he said, “That was then, that was nothing like what we are doing here, this is now and this is going to be great.” Deltones played Masekela’s “Lady” once then did a take of the song which left engineer and producer discussing the pros and cons of going with that version.
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