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January 26, 2001

VITERBO BRIGHT STAR SEASON SHOWCASES TRADITIONAL SOUNDS OF BLACK SOUTH AFRICA

LA CROSSE, Wis.— Experience the legendary harmonies of the South African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at 7:30 p.m. in the Viterbo Fine Arts Center Main Theatre.

From the Zulu name "mambazo," meaning "ax," Ladysmith Black Mambazo has been known for "chopping down" the competition for years. In fact, this 10-man Zulu group is so good that, after a time, they were forbidden to enter any competitions but remained more than welcome to entertain audiences with song.

Presenting their own disciplined version of a cappella music, known as isicathamiya, Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s music is rooted in the traditional South African culture—from its high-kicking and stop-stomping dances to its songs about apartheid and the working conditions in the mines.

Their work with Paul Simon on the Graceland album attracted a world of fans who never knew the subtleties of Zulu harmony were so captivating.  Since then, Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s music has grown in popularity. Often regarded as South Africa’s cultural emissaries, the group accompanied Nelson Mandela to the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway in 1993 and sang at President Mandela’s inauguration in May 1994.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s first album, Shaka Zulu, won the 1987 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Recording. They have received five additional Grammy nominations, recorded with numerous artists around the world, and contributed their musical talents to several films and television productions.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is part of the Viterbo Bright Star Season and is sponsored by James G. Birnbaum and Ross A. Seymour, Attorneys-at-law. It is supported, in part, by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin.

For more information, contact the Viterbo University Box Office at 796-3100 or explore the Bright Star Season.

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