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'The Voice' of South Africa to Perform at World Cafe Live

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Tuesday January 18, 2011

from The Huffington Post

‘The Voice’ of South Africa to perform at World Cafe Live
By Naila Francis

Vusi Mahlasela, the acclaimed South African singer-songwriter, poet and activist whose new CD, “Say Africa,” is out today, will perform in Philadelphia on Feb. 23.

Mahlasela is celebrating the release of the album with a month-long tour of the U.S. that includes both a series of headlining shows, as well as several dates opening for Amos Lee. While in the states, he also will perform at the Feb. 26 “TRIBUTE” show at New York City’s Apollo Theater, which, as one of three such events being held during Black History Month, will honor the civil rights movement, and be filmed for a PBS special.

“Say Africa,” produced by legendary bluesman Taj Mahal, was recorded at Dave Matthews Band’s studio in Charlottesville, Va., and features appearances by Mahal, on vocals and banjo, as well as Grammy-winning vocalist Angelique Kidjo. The album captures Mahlasela’s hope for the future of his homeland. Fusing folk, world, blues and soul music, he bridges generations and continents with a universal message of freedom and the strength of the human spirit. Highlights include the closing track “Ntate Mandela,” Mahlasela’s tribute to Nelson Mandela, as the singer is an ambassador for 46664, Mandela’s HIV/AIDS initiative, and performed at his 1994 inauguration as well as his 90th and 91st birthday celebrations.

Mahlasela is simply known as “The Voice” in his native South Africa — a nod to his distinct, powerful vocals and his poetic, optimistic lyrics. Raised in the Mamelodi Township, where he still resides, he became a singer-songwriter at an early age, teaching himself how to play guitar and later joining the Congress of South African Writers. He has released six studio albums in South Africa and came to the attention of American audiences with his appearance in the documentary film “Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony,” after which he was signed by Dave Matthews to ATO Records.

Read the full article here