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Published: 2009/02/03
by Brian Ferdman

Ladysmith Black Mambazo LIVE!

Heads Up International – HUDV 7149
Ladysmith Black Mambazo rose to international fame with the release of Paul Simon’s multi-platinum 1986 album, Graceland. Of course, the South African acapella group had been performing for nearly 20 years prior to that, but it was Simon’s landmark record that introduced them to the mainstream, leading to Grammy awards and global acclaim. Now this large group of talented men has been captured in concert, their joyous vibes preserved on the new DVD, Ladysmith Black Mambazo LIVE!.
Recorded during a 2008 performance in Akron, Ohio, Ladysmith Black Mambazo come across as a wonderfully affable, multi-generational cadre of warming souls. Their charm is apparent in the way they easily win over the crowd with fun audience participation, lighthearted humor, and impassioned choreography, which takes the form of kick-laden dancing that is well complemented by their native wardrobe accented by pure white sneakers. Of course, it’s those rich, mellifluous baritone voices that are their calling card, and the vocals are thrillingly performed to perfection. Whether it’s the sprightly bounce of "Makoti," the poignant pull of Simon’s "Homeless," or the spiritual lift of "Amazing Grace," these singers know how to deliver a gorgeous song.
Leader/Founder Joseph Shabalala is featured in an extensive interview that reveals the long and fascinating history of a group of singers who have been both persecuted and revered in their homeland. More importantly, Shabalala notes the proverbial passing of the torch, as a younger generation of performers has injected life and vitality into Ladysmith Black Mambazo, ensuring their rich legacy will last for many years to come.

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