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Ladysmith Black Mambazo: Live!

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Ladysmith Black Mambazo Live! Heads Up International 2009

Music is, for all intents and purposes, a listening experience--one that is enhanced when accompanied by something visual. The South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo delivers visually as well as aurally with Live!, a concert DVD recorded in 2008 at E.J. Thomas Hall at the University of Akron (Ohio).Ladysmith gets that part of its name from the South African town where founder Joseph Shabalala hails from. The Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble mixes traditional South African sounds with Christian messages of compassion, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ladysmith Black Mambazo: Long Walk to Freedom

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It's fitting that the third track of Ladysmith Black Mambazo's Long Walk to Freedom was co-written by Joseph Shabala, the group's lead singer, founder and musical director, and American pop star Paul Simon. About twenty years ago, Simon introduced this South African group to the pop world on Graceland. With Emmylou Harris providing a Simon-like lead vocal, the group does honor to “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, which Ladysmith recorded with Simon for Graceland. Joe McBride, referred to as a human jukebox, provides vocal percussive sounds on this track. Ladysmith Black Mambazo and other South ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ladysmith Black Mambazo: Long Walk to Freedom

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The vocal call and response of Ladysmith Black Mambazo traces our world's civilizations from the very beginning. As a form of communication, singing has accompanied the advancement of societies far and wide. Our ancestors undoubtedly found it as pleasurable as we do. With a cappella singing providing a natural delight that cannot be replaced by modern technology, Joseph Shabala and company deliver a series of timeless messages that grab at your soul.

Except for “Mbube, colored in different textures by Taj Mahal's gritty blues vocals and fiery electric guitar, and “Shosholoza, which includes Hugh Masekela's mellow flugelhorn voice ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ladysmith Black Mambazo: No Boundaries

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Sonically stunning, No Boundaries is a brave experiment in the dissolution of one culture in another that is only modestly successful. Ladysmith alone or the English Chamber Orchestra alone would work well, but more often than not, together they are unconvincing, a genre stretching effort (ill) conceived in the boardroom and not the studio. Where the listener would hope for a eutectoid relationship like that between jazz and Latin music, South African and European traditions create a micelle association with an African core and a European outer layer that results in confusion and distraction.

Where this disc works are in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ladysmith Black Mambazo: No Boundaries

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Musicians are known to have a “voice"?--a distinctive sound or style of playing that sets them apart from others. Even if you haven't heard the song or been given any kind of heads up about a new recording, it doesn't take long for you to figure out who is performing. That is especially true of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the South African vocalists who are as comfortable a cappella as they are with accompaniment. Recent winners of the Grammy award for Traditional World Music Album for the 2004 release Raise Your Spirit Higher , the group continues to charm and entertain.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ladysmith Black Mambazo: No Boundaries

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Accompanied by the English Chamber Orchestra, Ladysmith Black Mambazo combines classical European pieces with the traditional music of their South African homeland on one program. The well-known vocal ensemble finds that both areas of music fit together well when they're doing the interpreting.

“Amazing Grace" is presented in English. The arrangement contains a lustrous African interlude in which the vocal ensemble's traditional spirit soars. They sing in their native language as well as in the classical Latin tongue. Refrains of Bach, Schubert and Mozart combine with country chants from a far-away land. The Zulu language is quite effective ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ladysmith Black Mambazo: Raise Your Spirit Higher

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Ladysmith Black Mambazo could sing the text to American Psycho and make it sound as gentle as a lullaby. These singers are regarded as the foremost practitioners of South African vocal music, having received worldwide notice and acclaim when they appeared on Paul Simon’s 1986 recording Graceland (recall the revelation of the introduction to “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes").

On their Heads Up debut, the South African dectette, led by Joseph Shabalala, sonically weaves its way through eight native Zulu pieces, two anglophonic pieces, and a final hip hop tribute with grace and holiness. South African ...



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