Masauko is a Malawian-American singer/songwriter, born in Los Angeles where his parents were in political exile. His music bridges his African past with his American present. His primary instruments are the acoustic guitar and the voice. His career has allowed him to live in Los Angeles, South Africa, Malawi, New York and currently Costa Rica.
He formed the acoustic duo Blk Sonshine in South Africa in 1997 with Neo Muyanga from Soweto. Blk Sonshine went on to share stages with artists from every genre, including Stevie Wonder, Joan Baez, Gil Scott Heron, Bonny Rait, Mary J. Blige, Dead Prez, Susana Baca, Ernest Ranglin in the USA and Africa. By 2005, Blk Sonshine was a household name in South Africa. That year, they performed at the Nelson Mandela’s 46664 concert in front of thousands of fans. Blk Sonshine was featured on the Putumayo, "South Africa" release in 2010 and performed for the FIFA World Cup.
As a solo artist, Masauko has performed acoustically at Carnegie Hall. He has recorded with Grammy Award winning artists RZA from The WuTang Clan and Ladybug Mecca from Digable Planets. In 2018, Masauko is completing his first solo album for the Come to Life Record label. The album was recorded in Cape Town, South Africa in May 2017 with Malawi’s top young musicians. This album is Masauko’s first attempt at documenting all of the rich culture he has been exposed to in Malawi, Africa since his first journey there in the late ´90s. The songs blend elements of folk, funk, jazz, hip hop and reggae with the traditional rhythms and melodies of Southern Africa.
For more info on his activism in Malawi, videos and other music projects, check out www.masauko.com
Lesedi Ntsane, a trumpet player, was 2016 Deacon Leroy Applin Young Lion Award recipient from the Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium. He is president of Phattchops Production.
Here's an article about his musical journey, The Boy Who Grew Up Being Called Hugh Because He Loved the Trumpet.