Sal Masekela releases full-length album
The genetically inclined songwriting of X Games host Sal Masekela is now available online, with the release last week of "The Sound of Alekesam," the first full-length record written by the action sports personality.
The 10-track album is the result of 10 weeks in a recording studio a year ago, working with producer Sunny Levine. Levine's father, Stewart Levine, produced critically acclaimed albums with Masekela's father, Hugh Masekela, a jazz great exiled from his native South Africa as his music reflected the conflicts of Apartheid during the 1950s and '60s.
Though Masekela's album doesn't carry the freedom fighter headiness of his father's music, it does represent a pivotal introspection in the 40-year-old's life. Masekela told ESPN.com that his long-ignored desire to "create something of record" surfaced with renewed vigor as his soul became an empty place after several years of celebrity reporting for "The Daily Ten," E!'s now-defunct entertainment news show. "[Making this music] was about getting to a place where I had no choice."
The single "It's Not You, It's Here," has been available online for about seven months and was used in an episode of "Entourage" in August, in addition to getting some airtime on Santa Monica College's KCRW around that same time.
As for the alias, Masekela says he wanted his music to speak for itself, to find its own place, without his name altering the purity of it.
In a related release, a documentary entitled "Alekesam" has been making the film festival rounds recently. The 35-minute film, directed by Masekela's creative partner Jason Bergh, explores the evolution of the album and its relation to Masekela's relationship with his father, who was absent for much of his son's upbringing.
"It began as a simple, four-minute promo for my dear friend Sal Masekela's new album, and emerged as ... the most important story I have ever told," Bergh says of the project.