Tennerz: Ralf GUM feat. Hugh Masekela – With Her Hand (Ralf GUM Main Mix) (GOGO Music)
With her hand… We pretty well could be speakin’ of the one of Monique Bingham who wrote the lyrics of this song. Although the story brings us to a different level. A level full of hope and faith where everything can happen as long as love is around. Such as how Nelson Mandela‘s life went along with his wife, Winnie, eventually passing in her presence.
‘With Her Hand’ undoubtedly marks a new step on Ralf GUM‘s ongoing maturation process. Teaming up with South African iconic trumpeter and singer Hugh Masekela, himself displaying a rare emotion. Somehow reminding of the late Terry Callier at times…
Can we still speak about House Music? Hmmm, sounds a bit reductive, as standing way above. More of some atmospheric African modern Soul Jazz vibe, I would say. In other words: most likely a manifesto! With her hand (in your hand)…
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– Hugh Masekela is a world-renowned flugelhornist, trumpeter, bandleader, composer and singer. This, in addition to defiant political voice who remains deeply connected at home, while his international career sparkles.
Born in Kwa-Guqa Township, Witbank, Hugh Masekela began singing and playing piano as a child. Eventually learning trumpet by the age of 14. He received his first instrument of the likes the hands from Archbishop Trevor Huddleston. The anti-Apartheid chaplain at St. Peter’s Secondary School.
From the mid-50’s, he would fight against Apartheid. Using his music to reflect the agony, conflict, and exploitation his country was facing.
In 1960, at the age of 21, he left South Africa. Therefore beginning what would be 30 years in exile from the land of his birth. On arrival in New York, he enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music. And from then, he immersed himself in the local Jazz scene there. There, he developed his own unique style under the tutelage of Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong.
Hugh performed alongside countless luminaries. From Janis Joplin to Otis Redding and Ravi Shankar. Not to mention The Who and Jimi Hendrix in 1967. And the following year, his instrumental single – ‘Grazin’ In The Grass’ – went to #1 on the American pop charts. Eventually becoming a worldwide smash. Meanwhile elevating Hugh onto the international stage.
His subsequent solo career spanned 5 decades, during which he has released over 40 albums. He worked with such diverse artists as Harry Belafonte, Dizzy Gillespie and The Byrds. But also Fela Kuti, Marvin Gaye, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Miriam Makeba.
By 1984, he eventually ventured into Jazz/Dance territories. Releasing the memorable ‘Don’t Go Lose It Baby’ as a part of his ‘Techno-Bush’ album on Jive Afrika. An album which received production work by the likes of Stewart Levine. A man with whom he’d put together the Zaire 74 music festival in Kinshasa 10 years before.
Hugh returned to South Africa in 1990. There, he was honoured with the highest order in 2010: The Order of Ikhamanga. After joining U2 on stage in 2011, Bono described playing with Hugh as one of the highlights of his career.
At the age of 75 + Masekela maintained a busy international tour schedule. And he still found time to work with talents. The way he did back in 2009 with Black Coffee on ‘We Are One’. But also with Berita and Oliver Mtukudzi on ‘Mwana Wa Mai’ 4 years later. And, last but not least, with Ralf GUM back in 2014 on ‘With Her Hand’ and ‘In The City’.
Hugh Masekela sadly died aged 78 in Johannesburg on Jan. 23, 2018 after battling against cancer.
– Gene Douglas, but also Jan ‘Yannick’ Elverfeld, Lars and Marek Bartkuhn aka Needs, Mousse T… Not that many are the ones who served as the ambassadors of House Music in Germany back in the 90’s. With Ralf GUM adding his name to the list with his weekly residency in the Würzburg area. Then givin’ birth to his GOGO Music label back in 2001. Eventually delivering his first single for the label – ‘Nobody Can Touch Me’ – the year after. And God only knows how, from then on, he would establish himself and his stable among the most respected forces in the circuit. One step after another…
Speakin’ of his label, he would be for much in the progressive recognition of Phil Kullmann aka Raw Artistic Soul. But also standing among the first ones to have released a production by the likes of South Africa’s famous Black Coffee (cf. ‘Turn Me On’ feat. Bucie) back in 2009. Meanwhile, as a producer he came to collaborate with countless luminaries along with time. From Monique Bingham on the 2008 released ‘Kissing Strangers’. The first in a series comprising ‘Take Me To My Love’ and ‘The Pap’ among others… To Robert Owens (‘Fly Free’). Progressively establishin’ a strong connection with the South African scene and artists like Bucie, Zano, Brian Tempa and Sir LSG. Enough at the end to give him the will to relocate to Johannesburg along with his family in 2012.
‘In My City’, his third album, most likely came as a celebration of this new life of his. Seeing him sharing the duties with the legendary Hugh Masekela (on ‘With Her Hand’ and ‘In The City’). But also welcoming Omar (‘Love Core’), Monique Bingham (‘The Pap’) and Portia Monique (‘Free (Is All I Wanna Be)’). Not to mention Dele Sosimi (‘Bi Na Ba N’Jo’).
Although no date has been officially announced, a new album by the likes of Ralf GUM should see the light in 2018. Meanwhile ‘We Repeat’ along with Paul Randolph has all the ingredients to help us holdin’ the line until then…