Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya, Royal Festival Hall, Tuesday November 14

We have received the following statement from Hugh Masekela, who has had to withdraw from this concert for health reasons.

Dear Friends and media 

I have been in treatment for prostate cancer since 2008 when doctors discovered a small “speck” on my bladder. The treatment seemed to be successful, but in March 2016 I had to undergo surgery as the cancer had spread. 

In April 2017, while in Morocco I fell and sprained my shoulder. I began to feel an imbalance when I was walking and my left eye was troubling me. Another tumour was discovered and subsequently, in September 2017, I had emergency treatment, and the tumour was neutralised.

It is a tough battle but I am greatly encouraged by the good wishes of family, friends and everyone who has supported my musical journey, which remains the greatest source of my inspiration. 

I have cancelled my commitments for the immediate future as I will need all my energy to continue this fight against prostate cancer. 

I’m in a good space, as I battle this stealthy disease, and I urge all men to have regular tests to check your own condition. Ask questions, demand answers and learn everything you can about this cancer, and tell others to do the same. 

This will be the only public statement I make on the matter, and I ask for privacy going forward, so that I may rest and heal.

Serious and the EFG London Jazz Festival have a long history of working with Hugh - all our thoughts and good wishes are with him for a speedy recovery.

Abdullah Ibrahim and the Festival have agreed that the concert should take place as planned with Ekaya, as a celebration of the music that he and Hugh created for the Jazz Epistles as a landmark in the evolution of jazz in South Africa, and in recognition of the extraordinary journey that these two icons of South African culture have taken since they created such groundbreaking and uplifting music together, in the dark apartheid days of 1960s South Africa.  

Ekaya’s last London performance was at a sold-out Royal Festival concert as part of the 2014 EFG London Jazz Festival, in a year that marked 20 years of a free South Africa.

‘Melodies and phrases that seemed to breathe as the music spiralled upwards and  kept a packed auditorium spellbound’   (★★★★☆ Evening Standard) 

The EFG London Jazz Festival recognises that Hugh Masekela’s withdrawal will of course be a disappointment to his many fans, and whilst the rare presence in London of Abdullah Ibrahim with Ekaya is an occasion in itself, we are offering ticket holders a partial refund.  The few remaining tickets will be on sale at this adjusted scale.