LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO Returns To The Lincoln Theatre
Anointed "South Africa's cultural ambassadors to the world" by Nelson Mandela, five-time Grammy Award-winning a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo has warmed the hearts of audiences worldwide with their uplifting vocal harmonies, signature dance moves, and charming onstage banter for more than 50 years. Since the world discovered their powerful vocals in Paul Simon's 1986 album, Graceland, the original members have welcomed a younger generation of singers into the group to pass along the tradition of storytelling and help spread their message of peace, love, and harmony.
CAPA presents Ladysmith Black Mambazo at the Lincoln Theatre (769 E. Long St.) on Tuesday, February 19, at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $31.50 and $36.50 and can be purchased in-person at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), online at www.capa.com, or by phone at (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000.
Assembled in the early 1960s in South Africa by Joseph Shabalala, then a young farm boy turned factory worker, 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 harmonies so polished, 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. Their philosophy in the studio was - and continues to be - just as much about preservation of musical heritage as it is about entertainment. The group borrows heavily from a traditional music called isicathamiya (is-cot-a-ME-ya), which developed in the mines of South Africa, where black workers were taken by rail to work far away from their homes and their families. Poorly housed and paid worse, the mine workers would entertain themselves after a six-day week by singing songs into the wee hours on Sunday morning. When the miners returned to their homelands, this musical tradition returned with them.
Thus began an ambitious recording career that currently includes more than 70 albums, 19 Grammy Award nominations, and five Grammy Award wins for Shaka Zulu (1988), Raise Your Spirit Higher (2004), Ilembe (2009), Singing For Peace Around the World (2013), and Shaka Zulu Revisited (2017).