Tomorrow morning South African sonic stylists are taking over Times Square to kick off Carnegie Hall’s Ubuntu Festival, a celebration of the country's art and music. Legendary trumpeter Hugh Masekela and singer-songwriter Vusi Mahlasela will perform atop a double-decker bus parked on 43rd St between Broadway and 7th Ave. The gig starts at 10:15am and, no, it’s never too early too see world-music royalty play for free. If South African music leaves you clueless, we’re here to help. Get up to speed on tomorrow’s performers:
This veteran musicians has worked with everyone from Paul Simon to Dave Matthews, and is a legend in his own right as a founder of South African jazz. Known as much for his activism as his music, Masekela joins a social issues panel Wednesday night, followed by Thursday’s free show and an appearance at Carnegie Hall on Oct 10.
Dubbed "The Voice" of South Africa, Mahlasela performs a distinct brand of folk music that’s both socially conscious and emotionally powerful. Check out the video of an intimate performance intercut with scenes of daily life in his home-township Mamelodi. He joins Masekela in Times Square and on Oct 10.
If you like what you see at the free show, check out the full schedule of events for the Ubuntu Festival, which features performances from legends like Masekela and Abdullah Ibrahim, as well as South Africa’s new guard of performers like Simphiwe Dana and Tumi Molekane.