Zoo Brings Sounds of South Africa to Summer Concert Series

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Monday July 30, 2012

Zoo Brings Sounds of South Africa to Summer Concert Series

Johnny Clegg Band and Ladysmith Black Mambazo to Perform Aug.4

Two venerable acts from the townships of South Africa will make up one of the best world-music double bills in recent memory Aug. 4, when the Johnny Clegg Band and Ladysmith Black Mambazo play at the Oregon Zoo’s summer concert series, presented by Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon with support from U.S. Bank and your local Toyota dealers.

Clegg, a white Englishman who grew up in several African countries, is one of South Africa’s most celebrated musicians, having sold more than 5 million albums worldwide over a career spanning four decades. An outspoken critic of apartheid, Clegg joined forces with Zulu musician Sipho Mchunu in 1969 to form Juluka, South Africa’s first widely popular mixed-race band.

Clegg’s music, a vibrant blend of folky western pop and Zulu rhythms, made him a huge star on the international scene and helped break down racial barriers in his own country. While not quite a household name in the United States, Clegg has been a platinum-selling artist in Europe – so popular that on one occasion Michael Jackson chose to cancel a concert rather than compete for fans.

Like Clegg, the members of South African a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo have been ambassadors for their homeland and cross-cultural collaborators since long before the abolishment of apartheid. Though not widely known outside of South Africa prior to working on Paul Simon’s landmark “Graceland” album in 1986, Ladysmith Black Mambazo has enjoyed a prolific recording career since the early ’70s, releasing more than 50 albums.

The group’s first U.S. release, “Shaka Zulu,” was produced by Simon and won the 1987 Grammy Award for best traditional folk recording. Since then, Ladysmith Black Mambazo has been nominated for a dozen more Grammys, winning twice. “Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Friends,” released earlier this year, features collaborations with artists such as Dolly Parton, Lou Rawls, Emmylou Harris and Melissa Etheridge.

Tickets for the Aug. 4 concert are $28 and can be purchased at the zoo during normal operating hours. Tickets can also be purchased (with service charge) at all Ticketmaster ticket centers, online at and by phone at 800-745-3000. Purchase of a concert ticket allows entry into the zoo after 4 p.m; the concert begins at 7 p.m.

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