The Legendary South African a capella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo kicked off its US tour last week, and it will come to the Bardavon Opera House in Poughkeepsie on Sunday, February 8, for a 3 o’clock show. The group, which has been performing for more than 50 years, feels that its call for harmony is more important than it has ever been.
“People in the world are doing such bad things to other people,” said Albert Mazibuko, a soft-spoken tenor who joined Ladysmith Black Mambazo in 1969. “I think people need to hear more the message of peace.”
Ladysmith Black Mambazo received its fourth Grammy Award in 2014 for the album For Peace around the World. The members take very seriously their designation of “South Africa’s Cultural Ambassadors to the World,” bestowed upon them by the late Nelson Mandela. “Now we are in a time of celebrating,” he said. “We are celebrating what we have achieved in our music. Our spirit is always rejoicing.”
Mazibuko relishes the thought of sharing the group’s message with fans new and old. “It’s a blessing,” he said. “We have been joined by our sons now, our grandsons, in the group. It’s amazing. This is not us, what we’re doing… it’s something that we have to share with the world. The peace that the music brings to us, other people need to hear that peace, and then they need to hear that encouragement.”
Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s South African harmonies were key to the success of Paul Simon’s genre-defying 1986 album Graceland, and the group has won four Grammy Awards. Ladysmith Black Mambazo has performed with countless musicians, including Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Sarah McLachlan and Josh Groban. “That makes me very happy, that other musicians appreciate our music,” Mazibuko said. “When we collaborate with other people and sing with them, it seems that we are shaking hands. We are brothers and sisters. Let’s carry on and promote peace around the world.”
Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s new recording, Songs of Peace & Love for Kids & Parents around the World, puts families at its center.
If you’re on the fence about attending the performance, Mazibuko would like to see you there. “This is music that is going to massage the spirit,” he said. “And this is music that is going to uplift. And this is music that is going to clear everyone’s mind, and you will see how beautiful this world is. Come and embrace that and rejoice.”
Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Sunday, February 8, 3 p.m. Bardavon 1869 Opera House, 35 Market Street, Poughkeepsie. Tickets are $40 general admission; $35 for Bardavon members and available at the Bardavon box office, the Ulster Performing Arts Center box office in Kingston and through TicketMaster. For more information, visit https://www.mambazo.com and https://www.bardavon.org.