Ladysmith Black Mambazo became internationally famous after appearing on Paul Simon’s 1985 album Graceland, but don’t take this nine-member South African male chorus for granted. They’re still making fresh, timely work, as in the 2016 song “Homeless.” “Strong wind destroy our home,” they sing, “many dead, tonight it could be you” — lyrics which could be heard to speak directly to victims of disasters around the Bay Area and the U.S. this past year.

The group snagged two Grammy nominations this year, one for a remake of their classic album Shaka Zulu. Co-host Ariana Proehl notes a Ladysmith Black Mambazo appearance at the Sonoma County Fair was the first concert she attended as a kid, and their high kicks on stage have stuck with her. And there’s continuity for the band, even without any of the founding members. Some are sons of the group’s founder Joseph Shabala, who got the idea for their a capella sound from a series of dreams in which he heard traditional Zulu melodies. If only we all dreamed such beautiful music.

The group plays Jan. 26 at the Green Music Center; Jan. 27 and 28 at Freight and Salvage; Jan. 30 at Grass Valley Center for the Arts; and Jan. 31 at the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz. Details here.

What’s Old is New Again with Ladysmith Black Mambazo 24 January,2018Cy Musiker


Cy Musiker

Cy Musiker co-hosts The Do List and covers the arts for KQED News and The California Report.  He loves live performance, especially great theater, jazz, roots music, anything by Mahler. Cy has an MJ from UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism, and got his BA from Hampshire College. His work has been recognized by the Society for Professional Journalists with their Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service in Journalism. When he can, Cy likes to swim in Tomales Bay, run with his dog in the East Bay Hills, and hike the Sierra.

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