Ladysmith Black Mambazo at Preston Guild Hall

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Monday June 06, 2011

From The Ormskirk and Skelmersdale Advertiser

By: Jamie McLoughlin

It may have been Paul Simon who brought Ladysmith Black Mambazo to mainstream attention in the mid ’80s but the group has been around for a lot longer than you might think.

Joseph Shabalala formed the group in South Africa in the 1960s, focusing on the harmonies used in traditional Zulu music.

They became so good so quickly that they were barred from entering competitions for groups performing in their particular style so that other bands would have a fairer chance of winning.

Their first album, Amabutho, was released in 1973, 13 years before they worked with Paul Simon on his Graceland album.

Viewed as an intrinsic part of South Africa’s cultural landscape, the group were called on to perform at Nelson Mandela’s presidential inauguration in 1994 as well as his receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway the previous year.

Joseph Shabalala, who turns 70 in August, still leads the group and has already told fans that his son Thamsanqa will take over from him at the head of the line-up when he decides to step down.

In 1999, the group also set up its own foundation, to teach young Zulu South African children about their culture.

If you want to see and hear for yourself what makes Ladysmith Black Mambazo such an inspirational and influential band of musicians, they appear at Preston Guild Hall on Thursday, June 9.

Ticket prices range from £24 to £27.50.

To book, call the box office on 0845 344 2012.

The show starts at 7.45pm.