Harmonizing with Ladysmith Black Mambazo
After the Soweto Gospel Choir and Step Afrika! at UCSB’s Campbell Hall, courtesy of the Arts & Lectures program, it was time for the venerable Lobero, celebrating its 150th anniversary, to host Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a nine-member Durban-based South African male choral group, who have won five Grammy awards.
The highly entertaining troupe, founded in 1960 by Joseph Shabalala, sing in local vocal styles of isicathamiya and mbube. They became internationally known after singing with Paul Simon on his 1986 album Graceland, which sold 16 million copies, which led to them performing on Saturday Night Live in New York.
With uplifting local harmonies, signature dance moves that would have put Radio City Music Hall’s Rockettes to shame, and charming onstage banter, the choristers, who feature two of Shabalala’s sons, were appearing the next day at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in the Big Orange, and in June head to London’s Barbican.
A truly inspirational group…