SA music group continues peace path

 

It’s been two years since Ladysmith Black Mambazo released their Grammy Award-winning album “Live: Singing For Peace Around The World” – two years marked by escalating race and religious violence including unprecedented international terrorist attacks.

“It’s very painful. It’s something we couldn’t imagine that human beings could do to other people,” said the famed South African vocal group’s Albert Mazibuka. Yet Ladysmith remains hopeful by “taking that energy of peace and forgiving” to the stage.

“People say when they listen to us and see us perform with such joy it brings joy to their hearts,” said Mazibuka, from his home in Durban, South Africa.

Ladysmith, which has played for and with everyone from Nelson Mandela to Paul Simon in its more than 50 years, is no stranger to violence and sorrow. In 2002 the wife of group founder and leader Joseph Shabalala was shot and killed by a masked gunman outside their home in Durban.

The group pays tribute to Nellie Shabalala with its most recent album, 2014’s “Always With Us.” The album blends their voices with recordings Nellie Shabalala made with her own ensemble, Women of Mambazo, at the township Church of God in Africa she and her husband founded.

“The group exists because of her,” said Mazibuka, who now performs in the group alongside four of the Shabalala’s sons and a grandson. “She supported her husband, she supported the idea. She opened her home, she provided food, expecting nothing for herself. Every day when we went for rehearsals, she made sandwiches. Every day. We said to one another, ‘When is she going to get tired of this?’ ” The idea for the project came from the duets album singer Natalie Cole made using recordings by her late father, jazz legend Nat King Cole.

“(Nellie) is in our hearts. We wanted her voice to be there, so when we remember this album by Natalie Cole we say, ‘Hey …’, ” said Mazibuka. – Tribune News Service

March 2015
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