Sounds of South African Political Upheaval and Freedom to Ring

Musicians and Social Justice Activists to Perform First Joint Tour at the George Washington University Lisner Auditorium

January 26, 2015

For the George Washington University: 
Kurie Fitzgerald: [email protected], 202-994-6461
Maralee Csellar: [email protected], 202-994-7564
For Washington Performing Arts:
Amanda Sweet: [email protected], 202-636-3507
Caroline Heaney: [email protected], 202-636-3503
Hugh Masekela and Vusi Mahlasela, inspirational leaders whose works reflect the political upheaval in their homeland of South Africa, will join forces at the George Washington University for their debut tour. The musicians will bring a mashup of styles, which represents their influence and experience in the anti-apartheid movement, to Washington, D.C. 
Hugh Masekela, flugelhornist, trumpeter, bandleader, composer, singer and defiant political voice
Vusi Mahlasela, singer, songwriter and guitarist; known as “The Voice” of South Africa
Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015; 8 p.m.
The George Washington University
Lisner Auditorium
730 21st St., NW
Washington, D.C.
Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro (Blue, Orange and Silver lines)
Tickets range from $30 to $45 and may be purchased by calling the Lisner box office at 202-994-6800, Washington Performing Arts at 202-785-9727, or by visiting, or Tickets may also be purchased at the Lisner box office. Box office hours are Tuesday – Friday, noon – 6 p.m. The box office will also open one hour prior to the event.
Media interested in attending must contact Kurie Fitzgerald at [email protected] or 202-994-6461 no later than 48 hours before the event. Photos are available upon request. Attention calendar editors: Please do not publish media contact information.
With a career spanning more than 50 years, Mr. Masekela’s style defies a singular genre, ranging from jazz, rock and rhythm and blues to dance music. The musician left South Africa in 1960—the beginning of a 30-year exile from his homeland—after the Sharpeville Massacre where police opened fire on a crowd of African protestors. 
A prolific composer and recording artist with more than 40 albums to his credit, Mr. Masekela won a Grammy for “Grazing in the Grass” in the late ’60s and, together with Mbongeni Ngema, garnered a Tony nomination for the Broadway musical “Sarafina!” in 1987. His hit “Bring Him Back Home” was the anthem for Nelson Mandela’s world tour following his release from prison. 
Singer and songwriter Mr. Mahlasela inspired many in the South African anti-apartheid movement with the songs he wrote about the struggle for freedom, forgiveness and reconciliation with enemies. 
At the fall of apartheid, Mr. Mahlasela was signed to Shifty Records/BMG records and recorded his first album, “The Voice,” featuring a collection of songs he’d been writing his whole life. Mr. Mahlasela has shared the stage with the Dave Matthews Band, Sting, Josh Groban, Paul Simon, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Hugh Masekela, Angelique Kidjo, Béla Fleck, Ray LaMontagne and Amos Lee.
About GW Lisner Auditorium
Built in 1943, GW Lisner Auditorium is one of the most historic concert venues in D.C. It showcases both iconic and emerging artists in a vibrant downtown setting on GW’s Foggy Bottom Campus. Lisner is well known as a hot spot for world music concerts. Take a look at Lisner. The world sounds better here. 
Information about the diverse lineup of vocalists, world music, rock, dance and discussions scheduled in 2014-15 at Lisner Auditorium is available online
About Washington Performing Arts
Since 1965, Washington Performing Arts has had a foundational role in the arts in our nation’s capital, creating profound opportunities that connect community and artists, in both education and performance. Through live events in 11 venues that crisscross the D.C. metropolitan area, the careers of emerging artists are launched and nurtured, and established artists return to develop closer relationships with Washington Performing Arts' audiences and creative partners.
As one of the leading presenters in the nation, Washington Performing Arts embraces a broad spectrum of the performing arts, including classical music, jazz, gospel, contemporary dance and music, international music and art forms and new work.  Dynamic education programs in the public schools and beyond are hallmarks of Washington Performing Arts, as are the Embassy Adoption Program and two resident gospel choirs.
In the 2012–13 season, Washington Performing Arts was twice honored for its work at the intersection of arts presenting and education: by President Barack Obama with a National Medal of Arts (becoming only the fourth D.C.-based arts group and the first arts presenter of its kind to be so honored), and the Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence in Service to the Arts.