Ladysmith Black Mambazo at the Winspear

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Monday January 16, 2012

from Dallas News

We were there: Ladysmith Black Mambazo at the Winspear
By Dawn Burkes

Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala told the audience Sunday night that his group’s mission was to spread “love, peace and harmony.”

It was a great description of the almost two-hour performance at the Winspear Opera House as the seemingly indefatigable South African a capella group held the audience in the palm of its hand throughout the show.

First coming to mainstream prominence after working with Paul Simon on the watershed mid-80s album Graceland, Ladysmith Black Mambazo had been singing for years in its native country before its appearance on Graceland. The group has done as much as anyone to push world music, and especially South Africa’s diverse group of artists, into the mainstream.

This was never more evident than Sunday night at the Winspear, which attracted a mixed crowd that included parents and their children. No matter that the group didn’t sing in English; there was no mistaking the vigor, honesty, earthiness and purity of the notes from songs that have been passed down for generations and Shabalala’s own compositions.

(Speaking of the founder, he noted that the group was a family and went on to prove it as two of his four sons took turns leading the group.)

Parents and their by now sleepy children were perfectly suited to this show; appropriately enough, the group ended the night with a song everyone should know, even in another language: “Old McDonald Had a Farm.”

Read the full article here