Ladysmith Black Mambazo to play Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts February 6


The internationally acclaimed and Grammy Award-winning South African a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo will appear at Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts on Friday, Feb. 6 at 8:00 p.m. The concert is sponsored in part by the CT Commission on Culture and Tourism.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is regarded as the country's cultural emissary at home and around the world. Formed 40 years ago by the group's leader Joseph Shabalala, this Zulu-Christian-gospel-music fusion group rose to international prominence after appearing on Paul Simon's 1986 "Graceland" album and introducing the captivating sounds of Zulu harmony to a world of new listeners. They toured with Simon the following year and since that time the group has recorded with numerous artists from around the world, including Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, The Wynans, Julia Fordham, George Clinton, Ben Harper, Melissa Etheridge, Emmylou Harris, Taj Mahal, Joe McBride, Sarah McLachlan, Natalie Merchant and Zap Mama. The huge audience for this inspiring music has grown and kept them busy touring and recording ever since their initial tour with Simon.

The group took the name Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Ladysmith is the name of Shabalala's rural hometown; Black refers to oxen, the strongest of all farm animals and Mambazo is the Zulu word for axe, a symbol of the group's ability to "chop down" any singing rival who might challenge them - and honed traditional Zulu harmonies that Shabalala had heard in a 1964 dream.

His conversion to Christianity in the '60s helped define the group's musical identity and Shabalala discovered that his direction was "To bring this gospel of loving one another all over the world." He quickly points out that the message is not specific to any one religious orientation, "Without hearing the lyrics, this music gets into the blood, because it comes from the blood," he says. "It evokes enthusiasm and excitement, regardless of what you follow spiritually."

Tickets are $40, $35, $30 and are available at fairfield.edu/quick or by calling the Box Office at (203) 254-4010. The toll free number is 1-877-ARTS-396. Sign up at fairfield.edu/quick to receive e-mails for special offers and discounts for Quick Center shows.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 20, 2009

Vol. 41, No. 185