South African treasure

by Michael A> Posey | 2/11/97 6:00am

Regarded as national treasure in their native land of South Africa and world-renowned for their soul-stirring a capella, Ladysmith Black Mambazo will present their program today at 8 pm in Spaulding Auditorium in the Hopkins Center.

Composed of 10 members, Ladysmith were brought to the attention of the West by singer/songwriter Paul Simon on his 1986 "Graceland" album and record tour. Since that time they have appeared and traveled around the globe, harmonizing and singing their way into the hearts of millions of fans.

Practicing a distinct South African a capella style coined as "mbube," Ladysmith Black Mambazo have been described by their rich throaty presence on stage and also intricate harmonies.

The word "mbube" means "lion" and comes from the classic South African hit of the 1920s "Mbube." This is the same song that has been recorded countless times here in the United States as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight."

The Boston Herald says of Ladysmith, "The churlike call and responses of the seven tenors and two basses to Shabalala's throaty alto created powerful harmonies ... both earthy and majestic."

A spotlight discussion with Stephanie Hull, assistant dean of first year students and adjunct professor of French and women studies, will precede Ladysmith's performance at 7 p.m. in the Faculty Lounge of the Hop.

Although the performance is currently sold out, students are urged to check with the Hop box office before the program for cancellations.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is presented in conjunction with the celebration of Black History Month on campus.

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