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SPN: PHILLY - Ladysmith Black Mambazo, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Mann Center, Biographies
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BIO: Ladysmith Black Mambazo

BIO: Ladysmith Black MambazoLadysmith Black Mambazo was founded by Joseph Shabalala in 1974. They've cut well over 30 albums since, but the group did not become well known outside of South Africa until Paul Simon asked them to perform on Graceland. Shabalala was born into a poor family that lived on a white man's farm near the town of Ladysmith. There were eight children in the Shabalala family, and, as the oldest boy, it was Joseph's duty to take care of the family after his father died.

Shabalala's first musical experience, save for a bit of fooling around on the guitar, came with a choral group called the Blacks. Shabalala eventually took over leadership of the group and became its main composer. The Blacks won most of the local vocal competitions and became the most popular Zulu vocal group, but Shabalala felt that something was missing. "I had been hearing a voice inside me," Shabalala said. "I didn't know it, but it was the voice of God." When the voice told him to fast, Shabalala obeyed, and on his fast, he had a vision of a new kind of vocal music. Shortly thereafter he became a Christian. Taking the choral music he heard in the Christian church, he combined it with the Zulu tradition to create his own style.
When the Blacks refused to take part in Shabalala's experiments, he formed Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The group consists of seven bass voices, an alto, a tenor, and Shabalala singing lead. The combo immediately began releasing albums at a staggering rate, offering a massive catalog of vocal music. Even if you don't speak Zulu, when they hit a low rumbling note, you can literally feel the power of their voices in your body.

"In Zulu singing there are three major sounds," Shabalala explains. "A high keening ululation; a grunting, puffing sound that we make when we stomp our feet; and a certain way of singing melody. Before Black Mambazo you didn't hear these three sounds in the same songs. So it is new to combine them, although it is still done in a traditional style. We are just asking God to allow us to polish it, to help keep our voices in order so we can praise Him and uplift the people."

The group has had an extremely prolific recording career, having released over 50 albums and collections, beginning with their debut, Amabutho, on Gallo Records in 1973. In 1988 Ladymith signed with Warner Bros. and issued a pair of albums, Journey of Dreams in 1988 and Two Worlds One Heart in 1990. A couple of best-of samplers appeared on Shanachie in 1992. The group switched back to Gallo for a series of 1990s releases, then moved to Wrasse for several albums, including 2000's In Harmony. No Boundaries, which featured the English Chamber Orchestra, appeared on Headsup Records in 2005, followed by a second album from the label, Long Walk to Freedom, in 2006. In 2007 Ilembe: Honoring Shaka Zulu was issued in South Africa with an American edition following in 2008.

(courtesy of All Music Guide)

CHECK THEM OUT LIVE @ THE MANN


The Mann Center for the Performing Arts
52nd and Parkside Avenue
Philadelphia | Fairmount Park


BIO: The Blind Boys of Alabama

BIO: The Blind Boys of AlabamaThe Blind Boys of Alabama are a gospel group from Alabama that first formed at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in 1939. The three main vocalists of the group and their drummer/percussionist are all blind. As of 2008, they continue to tour nationally and internationally, with Jimmy Lee Carter singing lead vocals. In 2006, Clarence Fountain, the group's former long-time lead vocalist and founding member limited his touring for health reasons. Another founding member, George Scott, died on March 9, 2005 at the age of 75.

Releases by the group in recent years have been favorites at the Grammy Awards-they won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album every year between 2002 to 2005. The Blind Boys of Alabama were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

In the early 1980s, the Blind Boys of Alabama performed in the Obie Award-winning musical The Gospel at Colonus; their involvement in the production has continued into the twenty-first century, most recently with a 2008 performance in Athens (near the original performance location of Sophocles's play), where Jimmy Carter took over the role of Oedipus originally created by Clarence Foster.

Their rendition of Tom Waits' "Way Down in the Hole" was used as the theme song of the HBO series The Wire in its first season.

Their cover of Ben Harper's "I Shall Not Walk Alone" was featured in the first season of ABC's Lost, in the episode "Confidence Man".

The Blind Boys were featured on the Imus in the Morning radio and TV show on November 30, 2006, on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on December 20, 2006 and March 11, 2008, and on Late Night With Conan O'Brien on February 1, 2008. They have collaborated with numerous artists, including Ben Harper, Aaron Neville and Mavis Staples. They have joined Tom Petty, John Fogerty, and Peter Gabriel on tour, and will tour with Taj Mahal in 2008. In a surprise to both the band and the audience, the Blind Boys were joined by Prince on stage in a March 7, 2008 show at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood, California.
(courtesy of Wikipedia)

CHECK THEM OUT LIVE @ THE MANN

PHILLY: The Mann Center presents
The Blind Boys of Alabama and Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Saturday, July 25 | 8:00 pm


An evening under the stars at The Mann Center will make your spirit soar when five-time Grammy winners, The Blind Boys of Alabama take the stage for an evening of traditional and contemporary gospel favorites including Way Down in the Hole from the critically-acclaimed HBO series The Wire. The soulful evening also includes the sweet harmonies of ten-time Grammy winners Ladysmith Black Mambazo whose unique South African sound has enjoyed pop chart success along side Paul Simon's Graceland. Don't miss Blind Boys of Alabama and Ladysmith Black Mombazo - one night only!


Trouble ordering discounted tickets online, call 215-893-1999 and use promo code MCADE09

 

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earthjuice@prodigy.net


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