Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is probably the most popular a cappella group on the planet. Their inclusion on Paul Simon's massively successful 1986 Graceland—recently reissued for its 25th anniversary—catapulted them out of South Africa to secure a permanent place in our popular culture. Combining Christian gospel and Zulu singing, Ladysmith took what was a rough, traditional music and gave it a contemporary polish, much like Dr. John and Allison Krauss did for Cajun and Appalachian music, respectively. Formed in 1974, the group has been insanely prolific, releasing over 50 albums. (Last year's Songs From a Zulu Farm was nominated for a Grammy.) With intricate rhythms, a seamless blend of vocal ranges, and a keen sense of pop melody, Ladysmith Black Mambazo may not offer the purest form of contemporary music from Africa, but they are nonetheless what we think of when we think of music from that continent. BRIAN J. BARR

Sat., March 10, 8 p.m., 2012

 
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