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Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Back to Graceland

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Thursday July 12, 2012

From: The Newage

Back to Graceland
By: Mia McDonald

The sounds of Graceland are ingrained in the South African memory like Nelson Mandela, Table Mountain, the gold rush and the rich history of Soweto.

The creation of the album by American singer/songwriter Paul Simon in 1985 was a celebration of cultural fusion that was initiated by Simon himself.August 1986 saw the release of the timeless album. Graceland sold 14 million copies when it was released and it won two Grammys.

But it got a mixed reception. Controversial in 1986 and opposed by Dali Tambo, with the Artists Against Apartheid movement, South Africa was under sanctions at the time. It affected the country on many levels, but today Tambo feels differenly. Says he about the upcoming tour: “If I was there, I’d go to the concert. South Africa is a free country now, and there’s total peace and harmony between me and Paul Simon.”

As controversial as the tour was in 1987, it did something for Ladysmith Black Mambazo – propelling the choral group onto international stages in a way completely unprecedented. Romeo Qetsimani, the manager of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, says: “The 1987 tours changed the life of the group dramatically, that is why lead singer Joseph Shabalala gave Paul Simon the Zulu nick name, Vulindlela – it means ‘open the way’ – that’s exactly what the tour did.”

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