Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Ilembe: Honoring Shaka Zula | Heads Up
By BANNING EYRE  |  January 14, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars
It’s been two decades since Paul Simon ushered this South African a cappella group onto the world stage. But they’ve long since proved they can succeed on their own, filling concert halls around the world with their signature sound: rhythmic purring, cooing, bubbling, hissing, and occasionally stomping, all rendered with silky smooth, perfectly blended male voices. After a remix album, an orchestral collaboration, and a celebrity-guest project featuring Melissa Etheridge and Emmylou Harris, Ladysmith return to form here with a set of 12 all-vocal tracks in honor of the 19th-century warlord Shaka Zulu. Christianity and African tradition cohabit harmoniously in Ladysmith’s world. One of the two songs sung in English here, “Prince of Peace,” is an entreaty to prayer, and a hymn to patience and balance; the other, “This Is the Way We Do,” is a playful love song. Elsewhere, we have advice to youth, praise of elders, and rejections of jealousy and witchcraft. The eight surviving members still deliver a mighty, if understated, swing filled with echoes of jazz, jubilee choirs of old, and august Zulu tradition.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo | Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy St, Cambridge | January 18 | 617.876.4275
Related: Choir power, Crossword: ''Hard body'', Masters of Muppets, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Paul Simon, Emmylou Harris, Melissa Etheridge,  More more >
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