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Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Benefit for WUWF Public Radio

Guest Event

March 21, 2014 Mainstage
$35 / Discount for WUWF members & groups
Tickets on Sale: December 2, 2013

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Event Photo

Ladysmith Black Mambazo performs in the mainstage theater at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center in Niceville to benefit public radio affiliate WUWF.

Assembled in the early 1960s in South Africa by Shabalala, then a young farmboy-turned-factory-worker, the group took the name Ladysmith Black Mambazo from the name of Shabalala’s rural hometown – Ladysmith. 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 the homelands, this musical tradition returned with them.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s ambitious discography currently includes more than 50 recordings. Their philosophy in the studio has always been as much about preservation of musical heritage as it is about entertainment.

In the mid-1980s, Paul Simon visited South Africa and incorporated Black Mambazo’s rich tenor/alto/bass harmonies into his Graceland album – a landmark 1986 recording that was considered seminal in introducing world music to mainstream audiences. A year later, Simon produced Black Mambazo’s first U.S. release, "Shaka Zulu", which won a Grammy Award in 1988. Since then, the group has been awarded two more Grammy Awards and has been nominated a total of fifteen times. According to Simon, “It isn’t merely the grace and power of their dancing or the beauty of their singing that rivets the attention, but the sheer joy and love that emanates from their being."

In addition to their work with Paul Simon, Ladysmith Black Mambazo has recorded with numerous artists from around the world, including Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Sarah McLachlan, Josh Groban, Emmylou Harris, Melissa Etheridge, and many others. Their film work includes a featured appearance in Michael Jackson’s "Moonwalker" video and Spike Lee’s "Do It A Cappella". They’ve provided soundtrack material for Disney’s "The Lion King, Part II" as well as 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 titled "On Tip Toe: Gentle Steps to Freedom, the story of Ladysmith Black Mambazo", was nominated for an Academy Award.

The group’s recent CD, "Songs From A Zulu Farm", is a collection of traditional tunes from their youth in South Africa. The CD recreates the idyllic world in which the members once lived. Ladysmith Black Mambazo will be releasing a children’s CD, in late 2013, called "Stories and Songs From A Zulu Farm" in which they’ve created a narrative story to join with their recent songs for children to better understand life on a Zulu farm. This will be their first children’s CD since the 1990’s. They also released a live CD called Singing For Peace Around The World in early 2013.

See for more information. Tickets will be offered starting December 2 through the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Box Office at (850) 729-6000 or