Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Wed. March 6, 2013


Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
at Rio Theatre

“…sheer joy and love that emanates from their being.” – Paul Simon

Ladysmith Black Mambazo has an illustrious history going back five decades. Formed in the early ’60s, the South African a capella group initially won so many singing competitions that they were no longer allowed to compete. Today, fifty years and fifty albums later, the group continues to enchant audiences with its uplifting, melodic style of African music called isicathamiya. Paul Simon featured Ladysmith Black Mambazo on his much-acclaimed Graceland album and produced their first U.S. release, Shaka Zulu, which won a Grammy award. Many more award-winning albums and collaborations followed with such prominent artists as Stevie Wonder, Sarah McLachlan, and Emmy Lou Harris. Singing For Peace Around The World is their latest CD.

Joseph Shabalala founded the group in the early ’60s out of a love of music. The group quickly established themselves as the foremost acapella group in South Africa through amateur singing competitions. Ladysmith won so often that they were no longer allowed to compete, and could only perform as non-competitors. By 1970, their high quality singing was getting attention outside the local townships, eventually leading to a recording contract. The group’s name is derived from Shabalala’s hometown (Ladysmith), oxen (Black), and axe (Mambazo – a Zulu word). Isicathamiya (isi-cot-a-ME-ya) is a style of music developed by South African coal mine workers that has become a vocal tradition championed by Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Despite being a well-known singing group in Africa, little was known about Ladysmith in America until singer/songwriter Paul Simon utilized their vocal wizardry for his landmark 1984 album, Graceland. The response was stunning. After years of performing, they were now an ‘overnight sensation’ in the United States. Tours and television appearances cemented their popularity with the public, and Lady Smith Mambazo embarked on a revitalized career for a whole new audience. Their first U.S. release, Shaka Zulu, was produced by Paul Simon and received a Grammy award. Suddenly, it seemed like everyone wanted to record with them: Stevie Wonder; Dolly Parton; Sarah McLachlan, Hosh Groban; Emmlou Harris, Melissa Etheridge, and many others, lined up for the privilege of working with the group. Video-wise, they’ve appeared in Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker video; Spike Lee’s Do It A Capella; the soundtrack for Disney’s The Lion King, Part II; Eddie Murphy’s Coming To America; Marlon Brando’s A Dry White Season; Sean Connery’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; James Earl Jones’ Cry The Beloved Country and Clint Eastwood’s Invictus. A film documentary about Ladysmith Black Mambazo, entitled On Tip Toe: Gentle Steps to Freedom, was nominated for an Academy Award.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo

DATE: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
LOCATION: Rio Theatre
ADDRESS: 1205 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
TIME: 7:30 PM
TICKETS: $45/Gold Circle, $30/General Admission
MORE INFO: or 831-427-2227

Media contact:
Mitch Goldstein

(917) 971-4933


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