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Ladysmith Black Mambazo: No Boundaries

Jim Santella By

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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 at expressing the feelings of this veteran ten-voice choir.

"Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" begins with its classical origins. Lead vocalist Joseph Shabalala takes this one spiritually higher and higher. Robert Brooks adds a vibrant Italian tenor voice to the recipe, bringing the piece along several paths at once. Again, on Schubert's "Heilig, Heilig, Heilig," stirring African and European voices combine to carry the piece on raised emotions.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo has long represented vivacious South African traditional music. With a little help from their friends, they've managed to universalize their performance. Sometimes it works; sometimes it's a stretch. The veteran vocal ensemble is at its best with traditional South African fare. No Boundaries has plenty of examples of each.


Track Listing: Jabulani-Rejoice; Homeless; Amu Wemadoda; Amazing Grace; Dona Nobis Pacem; Ngingenwe Emoyeni (Wind of the Spirit of God); Umzuzu Nayi Ujesu; Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring; Sanctus (Heilig, Heilig, Heilig); Ave Verum Corpus; Lifikile Ivangeli; Walil' Umtwana (The Child is Crying).

Personnel: Joseph Shabalala, Jockey Shabalala, Msizi Shabalala, Thulani Shabalala, Sibongiseni Shabalala, Thamsanqa Shabalala, Albert Mazibuko, Abednego Mazibuko, Russel Mthembu, Jabulani Dubazana- vocals; Ofer Falk, Benjamin Buckton, Alison Dods, Matthew Elston, Gillian Findlay, Richard George, Matthew Scrivener- violin; Clive Howard, Matthew Souter, Josephine St. Leon- viola; Lionel Handy, Simon Wallfisch- cello; Stephen Williams- double bass; Dawid Venter- flute; Simon Ball- bassoon; David Cohen- clarinet; Isak Roux- piano, harpsichord; Hanneke ver Schoor- English horn; Tim Roberts- oboe; Amarille Ackermman- harp; Barry van Zyl- African drums, drum set, percussion; Bernard Kisby-Green- timpani, timbales, percussion; Magda de Vries- marimba, vibraphone, percussion; Robert Brooks- added vocal on "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" and "Sanctus."

Title: No Boundaries | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Heads Up International

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