THE GRAMMY-WINNING LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO TO PERFORM AT THE STATE THEATRE ON SATURDAY, FEB. 4, 2017
The South African group is best known for their uplifting harmonies of peace
TICKETS ON SALE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC: THURSDAY, NOV. 17 AT 10 A.M.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (Nov. 16, 2016) – Hennepin Theatre Trust announced today that South Africa’s LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO, who has warmed the hearts of audience worldwide with their uplifting harmonies, signature dance moves and charming onstage banter, will perform for one night only at the historic State Theatre (805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis) on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 at 8 p.m. With a deep respect for both their cultural and personal history, Ladysmith Black Mambazo is ever-evolving with an eye toward their long musical legacy.
Tickets go on sale to the general public on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 10 a.m. at the State Theatre Box Office, charge-by-phone at (800) 982-2787 and online at HennepinTheatreTrust.org.
DAY DATE TIME VENUE TICKET PRICES
Saturday Feb. 4 8 p.m. State Theatre Start at $29.50
Over the years, the original members have welcomed a younger generation in their mission, passing along the tradition of storytelling and spreading their message of peace, love, and harmony to millions of people. The newer members, in turn, have infused the group with their youthful energy and the promise of a bright future. Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala looks to these young men to carry on his dream to “keep South Africa alive in people’s hearts” for years to come.
In 2014 Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the South African a cappella group formed by Shabalala during the 1960s, was awarded their fourth Grammy Award for the CD “Singing For Peace Around The World.” Not just a CD title but a statement of the group’s career mission. It was Nelson Mandela who designated Ladysmith Black Mambazo “South Africa’s Cultural Ambassadors to the world.” It’s a title Ladysmith Black Mambazo holds quite dearly to their hearts. Since Mandela’s passing, the group dedicated the Grammy Award to him and have been celebrating Mandela’s message of peace at every concert they perform.
Ladysmith is the name of the group’s founder’s hometown, a small farming area between Durban and Johannesburg; Black being a reference to the oxen, the strongest of all farm animals; and Mambazo, the Zulu word for chopping axe, a symbol of the group’s ability to “chop down” any singing rival who might challenge them. Their ability won so many awards that by the end of the 1960s they were banned from competitions, although they were welcomed to participate as entertainers.
A radio broadcast in 1970 opened the door to their first record contract – the beginning of an ambitious discography that currently includes more than 50 recordings, 15 Grammy Award nominations and four Grammy Awards.
It is very important to the group that their message of peace be passed from generation to generation. By recording songs of peace that parents can teach their children, the group hopes to continue the message for decades to come. Their philosophy in the studio is as much about preservation of musical heritage as it is about entertainment.
The group sings from a traditional music called isicathamiya (is-cot-a-ME-Ya), which developed in the mines of South Africa, where black workers were taken by rail to work far away from their homes and their families. Poorly housed and paid worse, the mine workers would entertain themselves after a six-day week by singing songs into the wee hours on Sunday morning. When the miners returned to the homelands, this musical tradition returned with them.
During the 1970s Ladysmith Black Mambazo established themselves as the most successful singing group in South Africa. In the mid-1980s, Paul Simon visited South Africa and incorporated the group's rich tenor/alto/bass harmonies into his famous “Graceland” album – a landmark recording that was considered seminal in introducing world music to mainstream audiences.
In addition to their work with Paul Simon, Ladysmith Black Mambazo has recorded with numerous artists, including Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Sarah McLachlan, Josh Groban, Emmylou Harris, Melissa Etheridge and many others. They have provided film soundtrack singing for “Disney’s The Lion King, Part II” as well as Eddie Murphy’s “Coming To America,” Marlon Brando’s “A Dry White Season,” James Earl Jones’ “Cry The Beloved Country” and Clint Eastwood's “Invictus.” A film documentary titled “On Tip Toe: Gentle Steps to Freedom, the Story of Ladysmith Black Mambazo,” was nominated for an Academy Award. They have even appeared on Broadway where they were nominated for a Tony Award.
Hennepin Theatre Trust is a nonprofit organization that creates positive change through the arts by bringing together people, businesses and organizations in WeDo™, the West Downtown MPLS Cultural District. We serve the community through our four theatres – the Orpheum, State, Pantages and New Century – and our unique arts, culture and education programs. Learn more at HennepinTheatreTrust.org and wedompls.org.