02/06 | Ladysmith Black Mambazo (South Africa’s Cultural Ambassadors to the World)


“It isn’t merely the grace and power of their dancing or the beauty of their singing that rivets the attention, but the sheer joy and love that emanates from their being.” – Paul Simon

Ladysmith Black Mambazo, South Africa’s Cultural Ambassadors to the World, were assembled in the early 1960s in South Africa by Joseph Shabalala, then a young farmboy turned factory worker. Ladysmith is the name of Joseph’s hometown, a small farming area between Durban and Johannesburg; Black being a reference to the oxen, the strongest of all farm animals; and Mambazo, the Zulu word for chopping axe, a symbol of the group’s ability to “chop down” any singing rival who might challenge them.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo celebrates over fifty years of joyous and uplifting music. Within their singing are the intricate rhythms and harmonies of their native South African musical traditions. In those fifty plus years, the a cappella vocal group has created a musical and spiritual message that has touched a worldwide audience. Their singing efforts have garnered praise and accolades from a wide body of people, organizations and countries.

Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N Lincoln Ave · Gary and Laura Maurer Concert Hall · 773.728.6000

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