Ladysmith Black Mambazo Live *****

Ladysmith Black Mambazo performing at G Live, Guildford, UK. October 2022.

Furthering their mission to spread the culture of South African heritage, music, love and harmony, Ladysmith Black Mambazo delivered an evening of beautiful singing, co-ordinated and spontaneous traditional dance routines, and spectacular high-kicking. 

The five-time Grammy-winning South African vocal powerhouse wowed Guildford’s G Live venue with incredible prowess. The nine-strong a cappella group included four sons of Joseph Shabalala, who founded the group in 1960, and they sang and danced the night away to the delight of the crowd. Three sons of Shabalala took turns to front the group. 

The togetherness of the first track, This Is The Way We Do, set the tone for the evening’s performance, with perfect pitch, timing, grace and professionalism. The group used to enter choral competitions in South Africa in the sixties until they were persuaded to stop entering as they won pretty much every one. Nelson Mandela called them ‘South Africa’s cultural ambassadors’. He took them with him to sing when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize and they performed at his inauguration. At the G Live they performed their ‘tribute to our great leader’ Long Walk To Freedom.

Known to many for their contribution to Paul Simon’s legendary 1976 Graceland album, which sold 16 million copies, the group performed the part-Simon composed Homeless, the first track they recorded with him. With many songs about love, the light-hearted romance of Hello My Baby  brought smiles to the faces of the audience, with the band blowing kisses on cue.  

This show was twice-postponed due to the pandemic and the group thanked the audience for sticking with them. About the song Tough Times Never Last, ‘there are always tough times but what is important is to be strong and conquer the tough times’. A special mention should be made for the sound team at the venue as the sound quality was amazing. 

Ending the 100-minute set with Mining Song, they took turns to dance in pairs, singing, joking and spreading infectious fun. Returning to the stage for Joy, Peace and Happiness, the nine singers stood together, no dancing for this one. 

Emotional. Powerful, Unforgettable. A stunning show. 

Categories: Latest, Other Genres

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s