For over 50 years, South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo has warmed the hearts of audiences worldwide with their uplifting vocal harmonies, signature dance moves and charming onstage banter. With a deep respect for both their cultural and personal history, Ladysmith Black Mambazo is ever-evolving with an eye toward their long musical legacy. Over the years, the original members have welcomed a younger generation in their mission, passing along the tradition of storytelling and spreading their message of peace, love, and harmony to millions of people. The newer members, in turn, have infused the group with their youthful energy and the promise of a bright future. Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala looks to these young men to carry on his dream to “keep South Africa alive in people’s hearts” for years to come.
I had the honor of talking with Albert Mazibuko, who has been with the group since the early seventies, as Ladysmith Black Mambazo makes their way to Madison on February 24, at the Overture Center for the Arts. Albert and I discuss the two latest Grammy nominated albums, “Songs of Peace and Love for Kids & Parents Around the World” and “Shaka Zulu Revisited” and how handing off the group’s mission to someone other than Joseph Shabalala became the new way, without forgetting the way it has been. and what a young kid could expect from their first time being a part of a show. We walked down the path of creating an album for children and something real interesting, was the conversation about how new members are invited to try to become a part of this worldwide cultural legacy. Fascinating.