Critically acclaimed South African isicathamiya (is-cot-a-me-ya) male choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo is returning to Victoria to warm our hearts with traditional songs from its latest Grammy-nominated album, Songs From a Zulu Farm.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo takes its name from the town Ladysmith where it was formed in 1960 by Joseph Shabalala, who still leads the group today.
Joseph’s cousin Albert Mazibuko joined in 1969 at the age of 20 and is the only other original member still in the line up.
“I think it’s 44 years now. It’s a wonderful career. I’ve seen the group change a lot,” says Mazibuko. “It’s wonderful right now we have some young members and that is going so well.”
The group’s nine members range from 27 to 71 years old.
“We’ve been together for sometime, latest member joined us just four years ago, but before that was 1998. It’s a long time as one family.”
“We are a family, Joseph has four sons in the group and I am a cousin to Joseph, so I am uncle to these four young boys. It’s like touring with your family.”
Songs From a Zulu Farm was nominated for a 2012 Grammy in the Best World Music category. Mazibuko says it was a surprise to learn of the album’s nomination.
“When I heard the news I was over the moon,” he says. “This is the music we used to sing as children. It’s the most basic of music, so to get a nomination is wonderful; it’s a great reward.”
Mazibuko says the songs from the album are about days growing up on the farm, playing with his friends, catching birds and going swimming.
“There is one that we used to sing when we’re feeling cold and we want the clouds to move from the sun so it can warm us, we would sing ‘Leliyafu, leliyafu,’ those are the things I think about when we’re singing. That’s the magic of this music.”
“It’s very important to share those kinds of things that we used to share as children — the beauty of it, the happiness of the music — we love to share our happiness with the world, it’s a great opportunity. I’m so glad we perform at least six of those songs on this tour.”
They will also perform songs from their other albums, including their most popular fan favourites.
“There are some songs that we just can’t leave behind,” says Mazibuko. M
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
University Victoria Centre Farquhar Auditorium
Wed., March. 7, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets $37.50 – $42.50
(250) 721-8480 or tickets.uvic.ca