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Experience the power of the human voice with Ladysmith Black Mambazo

by on January 25, 2013

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For over forty years, the voices of Ladysmith Black Mambazo have married the intricate rhythms and harmonies of their native South African musical traditions to the sounds and sentiments of Christian gospel music. The result is a musical and spiritual alchemy that has touched a worldwide audience representing every corner of the religious, cultural, and ethnic landscape. On Monday, February 4 at 7:30pm, experience the power of their live performance as they take to the Playhouse stage for what will be an evening of polished yet soulful vocals with an inspiring message of love and positivity.

Led by founder and front man Joseph Shabalala, Ladysmith Black Mambazo assembled in the early 1960s in South Africa. Shabala was a young farm boy turned factory worker, and the group took the name Ladysmith Black Mambazo – Ladysmith being the name of Shabalala’s rural hometown; Black being a reference to oxen, the strongest of all farm animals; and Mambazo being the Zulu word for axe, a symbol of the group’s ability to “chop down” any singing rival who might challenge them. Their collective voices were so tight and their harmonies so polished that they were eventually banned from competitions — although they were welcome to participate strictly as entertainers.

A radio broadcast in 1970 opened the door to their first record contract – the beginning of an ambitious discography that currently includes more than fifty recordings. They burst on to the music scene in 1986 with their collaboration on Paul Simon’s Graceland. Their landmark recording with Simon is one of numerous collaborations with artists from around the world, including Stevie Wonder, Josh Groban, Dolly Parton, Ben Harper and more. Their musical efforts over the past four decades have garnered fifteen Grammy Award nominations and three Grammy Award wins, solidifying their place as a musical and cultural force to be reckoned with.

Want to know more about Ladysmith Black Mambazo?

Check out our FREE film screening of On Tip Toe: Gentle Steps to Freedom (2000), taking place at The Fredericton Playhouse on January 31 at 7pm. Screened in partnership with Cinema Politica Fredericton, the documentary film tells the inspiring story of the group that introduced South African music to the world: Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Tickets for Ladysmith Black Mambazo are available at the Fredericton Playhouse box office 1-866-884-5800, or online at www.theplayhouse.ca.

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