Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

130

Ladysmith Black Mambazo: No Boundaries

Woodrow Wilkins By

Sign in to view read count
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.

No Boundaries , a collaborative effort with the strings of the English Chamber Orchestra and the International Festival Orchestra, is the latest in the Heads Up Africa Series. Featuring an eclectic mix of delightful folk tunes, spirituals and European classical music, the album reiterates Ladysmith Black Mambazo's status as one of the world's most enduring—and endearing—vocal ensembles.

Perhaps the process makes the difference—a close parallel to the origins of American blues music. The group borrows heavily from a traditional music called isicathamiya , which developed in the mines of South Africa, where black workers were taken by rail to work far away from their homes and 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 they returned to their homelands, this musical tradition returned with them.

In their unique style of merging those traditions with Christian gospel music, Ladysmith Black Mambazo scores beautifully on the new album, paying tribute to such classics as "Amazing Grace,"? "Dona Nobis Pacem"? and "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring."? They take it even higher with vocal renditions of works by some of the masters, such as Schubert's "Sanctus (Heilig, Heilig, Heilig)"? and Mozart's "Ave Verum Corpus."? Founder and principal arranger Joseph Shabalala also contributes "Jabulani—Rejoice,"? a classic Mambazo song from the early album Thandani ("Homeless"?), which eloquently expresses the tragedy of the African experience, yet leaving a sense of hope and faith, and "Ngingenwe Emoyeni (Wind of the spirit of God),"? a Zionist church hymn.

One of the most interesting songs is "Lifikile Ivangeli,"? which at times sounds like it would be right at home in a medieval royal palace. In fact, it's of Scandanavian origin, but with Shabalala's treatment, it takes on a South African flavor, stretching toward an early Baroque arrangement and eventually to a sound more closely associated with the late Renaissance period. This complex, yet beautiful evolution exemplifies what Mambazo is all about. On the Grammy-winning Raise Your Spirit Higher , the group sang, "Music Knows No Boundaries."? On the new album, Ladysmith Black Mambazo proves it.

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

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Film Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Long Walk to Freedom

Long Walk to Freedom

Heads Up International
2006

buy
No Boundaries

No Boundaries

Heads Up International
2005

buy
Raise Your Spirit Higher

Raise Your Spirit...

Heads Up International
2003

buy

Related Articles

Read Higher Album Reviews
Higher
By Tyran Grillo
May 26, 2019
Read The Unlonely Raindancer Album Reviews
The Unlonely Raindancer
By Matt Parker
May 26, 2019
Read Pyramid Scheme Album Reviews
Pyramid Scheme
By Mark Sullivan
May 26, 2019
Read Mosaismic Album Reviews
Mosaismic
By Mike Jurkovic
May 26, 2019
Read Caldera / Sky Islands Album Reviews
Caldera / Sky Islands
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 25, 2019
Read Baby, Please Come Home Album Reviews
Baby, Please Come Home
By Doug Collette
May 25, 2019
Read Reckless Heart Album Reviews
Reckless Heart
By Doug Collette
May 25, 2019