Tickets start at $39 and are available through www.ScottsdalePerformingArts.org or 480-499-8587.
Called “South Africa’s Cultural Ambassadors to the World” by the late Nelson Mandela, Ladysmith Black Mambazo returns to the United States celebrating more than 50 years of joyous and uplifting song and dance.
The all-male ensemble fuses the intricate rhythms and harmonies of its native South African musical traditions with the sounds and sentiments of gospel.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo was founded in the early 1960s by Joseph Shabalala, then a young farm boy turned factory worker, who followed a path of peaceful protest against South Africa’s apartheid system of minority rule, creating songs of hope and a better tomorrow. The music would inspire generations of South Africans, as well Mandela during his long imprisonment by the government.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo rocketed to fame in the mid-1980s when Paul Simon incorporated its rich harmonies into his groundbreaking album “Graceland,” which helped to introduce world music to mainstream audiences.
Today, the prolific group’s discography includes more than 50 recordings, multiple Grammy Award nominations and four Grammy Awards, the most recent for its 2013 album “Live: Singing for Peace Around the World.”
In addition to Paul Simon, Ladysmith Black Mambazo has recorded with Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Sarah McLachlan, Josh Groban, Emmylou Harris and Melissa Etheridge, among many others.
The group also has provided music for the soundtracks of numerous films, from Disney’s “The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride” to Clint Eastwood’s “Invictus.” The documentary film “On Tiptoe: Gentle Steps to Freedom,” the story of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, was nominated for an Academy Award.
The nonprofit Scottsdale Cultural Council is contracted by the City of Scottsdale, Ariz., to manage Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) and Scottsdale Public Art.
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is located at 7380 E. Second St. in downtown Scottsdale.
The Scottsdale Independent is available for free every Wednesday.