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Hugh Masekela The Fridge, Brixton July 2003

Hugh MasekelaIt's been a while since I last saw Hugh Masekela live so I was really looking forward to this gig (big thanks to Sue for sorting out the tickets!).

This guy is, in a word, "the Daddy" (OK so that's two words), and well deserves his title "The father of African Jazz". He just gets better 'n' better.

It was a relatively small crowd at The Fridge but the vibe was good -- it also meant that me and all of my 4ft 11ins could get a decent view for a change. Even the drunken rantings and jumping-up-and-downings of the completely out of it geezer who kept running forward elbows out, oblivious to everyone else, and chucking beer everywhere (prat you know who you are) didn't spoil the enjoyment of the evening.

As Hugh belted out an emotional rendition of Coal Train (Stimela) the crowd could not help but be moved by the message in the song, which he dedicated to all those people in the world who are forced to work under really crap conditions, doing really crap dirty jobs, for really crap money to make some rich guy somewhere else a whole lot richer. Though the song tells the story of "young men and old men conscripted to work in the gold mines of Johannesburg" it's equally applicable to the lives of many people today (cheap clothing, shoes, coffee, tea, flowers anyone? ...).

As well as getting us thinking, Hugh definitely had us all up dancing and singing -- what a great gig. His band was fantastic (particularly liked the drums and percussion - shame they were tucked away at the back). Hope it won't be too long til they're all back in the UK again. In the mean time I'll have to make do with the latest album and a few more pics of the night (I took loads, I bring you the least crappy ones) ...

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