Sounds of South Africa at PSC

February 7th, 2002 by Adam

The world renowned South African a cappella group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, will perform for a full house at Plymouth State College’s Silver Cultural Arts Center, Friday February 15.

The traditional music sung by Ladysmith Black Mambazo is called ISICATHAMIYA. It originated in the mines of South Africa, where black South Africans worked, away from their homes and families. They would entertain themselves after a six-day week by singing songs into the wee hours. When the miners returned to their homelands, the tradition returned with them, and competitions developed.

The name Ladysmith Black Mambazo came about as a result of winning every singing competition which the group entered. “Ladysmith” is the home town of group founder Joseph Shabalala. “Black” makes reference to black oxen, considered to be the strongest animal on the farm. The Zulu word, “Mambazo” refers to an ax, symbolic of the group’s ability to “chop down” the competition. So good were they that after a time, they were forbidden to enter the competitions, but were welcomed, of course, to entertain.

In addition to a featured role on Paul Simon’s Graceland album, Ladysmith Black Mambazo won a Grammy award for best traditional folk recording, and collaborated with Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Dolly Pardon and the Steppenwolf Theater Company. They are featured in Spike Lee’s documentary Do It A Cappella, on the soundtrack of Disney’s The Lion King Part 2, and their Sesame Street appearance with Paul Simon is one of the most requested in the history of the program.

For information, contact the PSC Box Office at 535-ARTS.