Ladysmith Black Mambazo

MILTON KEYNES Theatre
500 Marlborough Gate
Milton Keynes
MK9 3NZ

Directions

Celebrating the life and music of founder Joseph Shabalala.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo are one of the world’s greatest and most distinctive vocal groups. For sixty years the legendary a cappella male choir have invoked the soul of South Africa with their intricate rhythms and harmonies and powerful, uplifting songs.

They shot to global stardom after featuring on Paul Simon’s 'Graceland', and have been touring the world ever since, and were re-united with Paul Simon a few years ago on the Graceland world tour.

For sixty years Ladysmith Black Mambazo have sung powerful, uplifting songs that emote the struggles and passion of South Africa. Nelson Mandela called Ladysmith “South Africa’s cultural ambassadors”.

The group's joyously energetic performance combines loud powerful choruses with softer, almost whispering chants where voices blend harmoniously, and tightly choreographed dance moves.

These performances celebrate the life and music of Joseph Shabalala, the founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and are dedicated to his memory. When Joseph formed the group that became Ladysmith Black Mambazo 60 years ago, he had a dream of a South Africa in harmony, and all his life he created great vocal music that came to speak to the whole world.

Joseph retired in 2014 and handed leadership of Ladysmith Black Mambazo to his four sons Thulani, Msizi, Sibongiseni and Thamsanqa, who carry Joseph's song of a united South Africa into the future

  • ‘ Truly great singing, balancing soulful ballads and traditional dance songs with exquisite and perfectly timed harmony work ’
    (Guardian)
  • ‘ Though they sing entirely a cappella, their songs have a rhythmic spring, and their dance moves are light-footed and elegant ’
    (Daily Telegraph)

'With their cheeky scissor-kicks, Ladysmith Black Mambazo were pretty spry for a 60-year-old choral group. Their line-up has evolved but the South Africans’ close-knit harmonies are just as faultless as they were on Paul Simon’s Graceland, which brought them international fame.’

(★★★★☆ Telegraph)

‘It’s not just their sound but their look and their athleticism. They bounded on, promising an evening of “peace, love and harmony” from South Africa to the world and surely no one failed to pick up the joyous vibes as they sang and joshed with one another, and the audience.’

(★★★★☆ theartsdesk)

Opening set from Cameroon-born Muntu Valdo - whose music is rooted in the blues, mixing African traditions with striking modernity and
technical mastery.

His mesmerizing solo set juxtaposes his raw, passionate voice and intensely emotive melodies, intricate African guitar lines with an ingenious use of loops and effects to create sun-kissed groove heavy Sawa Blues.