First View


Ladysmith Black Mambazo (The black axe from the town Ladysmith) was founded in 1964 by Joseph Shabala. He is founder, writer, composer and the genius of the group. Joseph recruited family and friends from Ladysmith to create the music of his dreams. Paul Simon's album Graceland ("Homeless" and "Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes") was LBM's tremendous breakthrough. From this time they performed on hundreds of concerts worldwide, released several albums and gained International success Grammies included. Their newest album "No Boundaries" is in the spirit of integration, the mixture of African culture with International elements.  The hybrid of Zulu harmonies and unconventional Western influences, including gospel, is a tradition since the beginning of so many International cooperations.

But this album is special because Ladysmith Black Mambazo performs together with a classical orchestra for the very first time. The English Chamber Orchestra is one of the world's leading chamber orchestras, having performed in more countries than any other orchestra, recorded over 1,200 works and played with the world's greatest soloists in its 44 years of history, including Daniel Barenboim, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Isaac Stern, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Mstislav Rostropovich. The album was recorded semi-live. Some single takes are remixed.

Jabulani is a Mambazo song from the album "Thandani" (1990). Jabulani means "be happy" in the African language of Ndebele. The classic melody originally performed accapella is now accompanied by orchestral strings.

Homeless is certainly Mambazo's most-played piece. Composed by Joseph Shabala and Peter Simon I count more than 14 album versions. The new one is orchestral structured with strings, horns and other instruments.

Awu Wemadoda was released on the album Spirit of South Africa (1998). It's a classical song presenting the hunt as allegory.
Amazing Grace is one of the most well-known Protestant hymns. The words were written by John Newton; they form a part of the Olney Hymns that he worked on, with William Cowper and other hymnodists. The Paul Simon/Joseph Shabala arrangement is a real incorporation of joy.

Dona Nobis Pacem is taken from the Missa Brevis for Youth Choir by Isak Roux. Roux was asked in 2003 by the ICMF (International Classical Music Festival) in South Africa to assemble a program for a collaboration between the ECO and Mambazo. In Pretoria the opening gala took place in November 2003.

NGingenwe Emoyeni (Wind of the Spirit of God) was first released on the album "Thandani". Joseph Shabala and Isak Roux present a new orchestral arrangement of this church hymn.

Umzuzu Nayi Ujesu, an old congregational song, originally from the album "Thandani" is new arranged by Isak Roux to a township kwela.

Franz Schubert had written Sanctus for his "German Mass". The tenor Robert Brooks performs the lead melody while Mambazo adds the Zulu touch to this interpretation.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's has composed Ave Verum Corpus, a motet for chorus, strings, and organ in 1791. Now Mambazo presents this classic tune as a gospel.

Lifikile Ivangeli originally to find on some of Mambazo's albums like Favourites (2001), The Ultimative Collection (2001) or Best of Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Vol. 1 (1992) as a harmonical gospel is interpreted now as a medieval Christmas song in Renaissance style.

Walil' Umtwana (The Child Is Crying) is an old Zulu lullaby, a pentatonic melody in an orchestral environment.

Mambazo's newest album offers classic Mambazo pieces and classical masterpieces. It's a new facet in their traditional gospel music. It would be interesting to know if the groupís upcoming three month tour of the United States will integrate this new album with an orchestral performance.