Ladysmith Black Mambazo plays Belleayre
Highmount - Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the band that skyrocketed to international prominence after backing Paul Simon on his “Graceland” album, plays the Belleayre Music Festival on Saturday, Aug. 1 at 8 p.m.
It has been more than 20 years since Paul Simon made his initial trip to South Africa and met Joseph Shabalala, and the other members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, in a recording studio in Johannesburg. Simon was captivated by the stirring sound of bass, alto and tenor harmonies and incorporated these traditional sounds into the “Graceland” album, a project regarded by many as seminal to today’s explosive interest in World Music.
Ladysmith already had a loyal following in its native land and the captivating Zulu harmonies were soon being enjoyed around the world after the band was spotlighted on “Graceland.”
The group has recorded more than 40 albums and has topped seven million record sales. Ladysmith has also recorded with numerous artists from around the world, including Stevie Wonder, Josh Groban, Dolly Parton, Ben Harper, Mavis Staples, Andreas Vollenweider, The Wynans and George Clinton.
Ladysmith Black Mam-bazo represents the traditional culture of South Africa and is regarded as the country’s cultural emissary at home and around the world.
In 1993, at Nelson Mandela’s request, Ladysmith Black Mambazo accompanied the future President to the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway. The group sang again at President Mandela’s inauguration in May of 1994.
Ladysmith is a national treasure of the new South Africa, in part because they embody the traditions suppressed in the old South Africa.
The traditional music sung by Ladysmith Black Mambazo is called ISICATHAMIYA (Is-Cot-A-Me-Ya). It was born in the mines of South Africa. Black workers were taken by rail to work far away from their homes and their families. Poorly housed and paid worse, they would entertain themselves, after a six-day week, by singing songs into the wee hours every Sunday morning.
Friday, Aug. 7 at 8 p.m., Pablo Ziegler Trio for Nuevo Tango; Saturday, Aug. 8 at 8 p.m., jazz chanteuse Leny Andrade; Friday, Aug. 14 at 8 p.m., Kevin Mahogany; Saturday, Aug. 15 at 8 p.m., Jay Leno’s band leader Kevin Eubanks; Saturday, Aug. 22 8 p.m., Bob Marley’s band The Original Wailers; Sunday, Aug. 23 at 1 p.m., KIDSTOCK featuring Uncle Rock and the Playthings with special guests Paul Green¹s School of Rock (free admission); Saturday, Aug. 29 at 8 p.m., Mary Wilson of the Supremes; Saturday, Sept. 5 at 8 p.m., ABBA - The Tour.
Ticket for all shows in the 2009 summer concert season at the Belleayre Music Festival, are on sale via Ticketmaster. For additional information, please call 800 942-6904, ext. 1344 or visit: www.belleayremusic.org. The festival’s e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.