Legendary South African Choral Group Ladysmith Black Mambazo Set To Return to NYC
World Music Institute and 92nd Street Y, New York Present
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Rescheduled show: Saturday, March 18, 2023
Doors: 7 PM | Show: 7:30 PM
Kaufmann Concert Hall at the 92nd Street Y – 1395 Lexington Avenue, Manhattan
Legendary South African choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo returns to NYC for their first area performance since 2018. The five-time GRAMMY Award-winning ensemble has been delighting audiences all over the world with their uplifting vocal harmonies, signature dance moves, and charming onstage banter. The group came to global fame when they collaborated with Paul Simon on his 1986 smash hit Graceland, and never looked back. Nelson Mandela called the group “South Africa’s cultural ambassadors to the world.”
2023 marks the 63rd anniversary of Joseph Shabalala forming Ladysmith Black Mambazo. His group would not only conquer all of South Africa, but would become a worldwide phenomenon, winning more GRAMMY Awards (Five), and receiving more GRAMMY Award nominations (Nineteen), than any world music group in the history of recorded music.
The group sings a traditional music style called isicathamiya (Is-Cot-A-Mee-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 work week, by singing songs into the wee hours on Saturday night and Sunday. When the miners returned to their homes, this musical tradition returned with them.
In the mid-1980s, American singer-songwriter Paul Simon famously visited South Africa, and incorporated the group's rich harmonies into his GRAMMY-winning Graceland album – a landmark recording instrumental in introducing world music to mainstream audiences. This brought the group to the attention of music lovers all over the world.
During the dark years of South African Apartheid, Ladysmith Black Mambazo followed a path of peaceful protest through songs of hope and love. When Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990, he said that Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s music was a powerful message of peace that he listened to while in jail. When Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, he asked the group to join him at the ceremony. It was Mandela who called Ladysmith Black Mambazo “South Africa’s Cultural Ambassadors to the World.”
After leading his group for over fifty years and approaching his seventy-fifth birthday, Joseph Shabalala retired in 2014, handing the leadership to his three sons, Thulani, Sibongiseni and Thamsanqa Shabalala. Having joined their father’s group in 1993, their many years of training had prepared them in ways no others could be trained. Now, after Joseph's passing in 2020, the Shabalala Family carries their father’s dream into the future, and continues the group’s success for the world to hear.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo is Thulani Shabalala, Sibongiseni Shabalala, Thamsanqa Shabalala, Msizi Shabalala, Albert Mazibuko, Abednego Mazibuko, Mfanafuthi Dlamini, Pius Shezi and Sabelo Mthembu.
Founded in 1985 as a not-for-profit, World Music Institute (WMI) has served as one of the leading presenters of world music and dance within the United States. WMI is committed to presenting the best in traditional and contemporary music and dance from around the world with the goal of inspiring wonder for the world's rich cultural traditions, promoting awareness and appreciation and encouraging cross-cultural dialog and exchange. WMI presents at venues throughout the city and depends on both public and private funding to accomplish its mission.
The program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
The 92nd Street Y, New York (92NY) is a world-class center for the arts and innovation, a convener of ideas, and an incubator for creativity. 92NY offers extensive classes, courses and events online including live concerts, talks and master classes; fitness classes for all ages; 250+ art classes, and parenting workshops for new moms and dads. The 92nd Street Y, New York is transforming the way people share ideas and translate them into action all over the world. All of 92NY’s programming is built on a foundation of Jewish values, including the capacity of civil dialogue to change minds; the potential of education and the arts to change lives; and a commitment to welcoming and serving people of all ages, races, religions, and ethnicities.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo - "Rain, Rain, Beautiful Rain" (Live on KEXP)