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Cornell Concert Series

Cornell Concert

Ladysmith Black Mambazo (premiered March 17, 2021)

CCS 2020–21 Virtual Season

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“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

For 60 years, South Africa’s five-time GRAMMY Award winners, Ladysmith Black Mambazo has warmed the hearts of audiences worldwide with uplifting vocal harmonies, signature dance moves and charming onstage banter. It was Paul Simon’s 1987 Graceland album that introduced Ladysmith Black Mambazo to the world. The late former South African President Nelson Mandela designated the group “South Africa’s cultural ambassadors to the world,” a title the members carry with them with the highest honor.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo sings from a traditional music style called isicathamiya (is-cot-a-ME-Ya), which developed in the mines of South Africa. It was there that black workers were taken to work far away from their homes and families. Poorly housed and paid, the mine workers would entertain themselves after a six-day week by singing songs into the wee hours on Sunday morning. When the miners returned to their homes, this musical tradition returned with them. Ladysmith Black Mambazo has performed for millions of people, singing a message of peace, love and harmony.

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