Sunday, April 26, 2009

Promises, Promises

One day there'll be a son's story of emerging from the worldwide shadow cast by his father. That, not necessarily this week's objet d'eBay despite its title, is The Promise of a Future. The 1968 album is by South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, whose sounds and fight against aparthheid have touched the world. The movie-to-be, if internet snippets can be believed, is by his only son, Selema Mabena ("Sal") Masekela, an American distant in time and space enough to natter on about celebrity gossip and the winter X games.

It will be interesting to see how the son treats the father — who is currently promoting Phola, his 35th album, with nary a mention of his son. It will certainly be kinder than that of essayist Joe Queenan, whose excoriates his abusive, alcoholic father in his just released memoir Closing Time. [Earlier: Write Good and Evil, Not the Middle] However, given how little notice Masekela the elder takes of his son, and how unusual it is that a man with so much to give and numerous marriages has had but one child, the unique story of this particularly distant relationship is truly a promise awaiting fulfillment.

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