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From Siparia to Soweto with Siparia Deltones Steel Orchestra & Hugh Masekela

Album launch set for May 2014

Global - A steel orchestra and trumpet collaboration between Trinidad's Siparia Deltones and world-renowned Hugh Masekela has produced the album “From Siparia to Soweto,” now set to launch in May 2014. This trans-Atlantic collaboration between the iconic South African trumpeter and the Petrotrin Siparia Deltones Steel Orchestra would first be showcased in a gala ceremony at the Hilton Hotel in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad on May 8th, to be followed on May 10th with a concert at the Siparia Deltones Pan Theater, Railway Road, Siparia, in south Trinidad. Collaborating on this project is Trinidad & Tobago's Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism in the role of Executive Producer on the album.

This noteworthy project had its genesis at the inaugural edition of the San Fernando Jazz Festival in 2004, where the Siparia Deltones was the opening act for “Jazz On The Hill” at which Masekela was the featured artiste.  Needless to say, the steel orchestra’s performance under the baton of avant-garde musical director Carlton “Zanda” Alexander made such an indelible impression on this world-renowned artiste, that he expressed his willingness and unbridled enthusiasm to work alongside the Siparia Deltones Steel Orchestra and be a part of their musical experience.

Over the ensuing years the parties honed their interest until 2012 when “Zanda” and band leader Akinola Sennon travelled to St. Lucia - where Masekela was the headline act for the St. Lucia Jazz Festival - to meet with him once more to crystallize plans for a collaborative musical project. In May of 2013, Masekela came to Trinidad where he spent six weeks recording the album. It was decided that the launch would take place in Trinidad upon completion of the post-production work in South Africa.

From Siparia to Soweto album cover

“From Siparia to Soweto”- as the album has been so aptly dubbed, links both places on political as well as cultural levels. The anti-apartheid revolution which was brewed in the town of Soweto was led by Nelson Mandela, who is renowned for breaking many political barriers, inclusive of being the first black President of his country. Like Soweto, Siparia also boasts of transcending political barriers by producing Trinidad and Tobago’s first female Prime Minister, the Hon. Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

The album is a representation of Trinidad and Tobago’s heritage and indigenous experience from a perspective of sound. The major facets of Trinidad and Tobago culture are represented as the album features Parang, Chutney, Folk, Kaiso, Soca and World Beat music. The steel orchestra is highlighted in a very modern context and as a beacon of “bright, innovative new sound,” and the instrumentation used is certain to resonate like a breath of fresh air throughout the global music fraternity. It is the view of Hugh Masekela that this album could very well be the new sound that the industry has been long awaiting.

Hugh Masekela
Hugh Masekela

Mr. Masekela is widely reputed as the representation of music of the African continent. He is a multiple award-winning artiste and has sold millions of albums. A collaboration of this magnitude could see the album grabbing the attention of the world. The fusion of steel pan, horn, vocals, piano, bass guitar, rhythm guitar, African drumming, Latin percussion, tabla and dholak has brought to the fore, something undeniably new. Masekela believes that the context in which he would be seen and heard on this particular album is unlike anything he has ventured into throughout his entire 60-year musical journey. It is his conviction that the Grammy Award stage is certain to greet him upon the release of this album.

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