• UBUNTU: Music and Arts of South Africa

  • South Africa is a dizzying patchwork of cultures and languages with 11 official tongues, including isiZulu, isiXhosa, Sesotho, Afrikaans, and English. From this diversity emerges a dynamic and impassioned cultural life like none other on earth. Carnegie Hall salutes this vibrant nation with a festival called UBUNTU: Music and Arts of South Africa. Roughly translating to mean "I am because you are," ubuntu is a philosophy from Southern Africa that emphasizes the importance of community, influencing recent moves of reconciliation and inclusion in South Africa that were fostered by the late Nelson Mandela. Dedicated to Mandela’s legacy, Carnegie Hall's UBUNTU festival celebrates the many threads that make up South Africa’s vibrant musical culture.

    Legendary trumpeter and composer Hugh Masekela is joined by singer Vusi Mahlasela in Twenty Years of Freedom. World-renowned singers Ladysmith Black Mambazo and guests are featured in Voices of South Africa.

    Grammy Award–winning singer and activist Angélique Kidjo celebrates legendary vocalist and cultural figure Miriam Makeba in Mama Africa. There is also the powerful spirituality and ecstasy of maskandi music of the Zulu people, two thrilling generations of South African jazz, and unique Cape Malay choral singing that blends Dutch folksongs with beautifully ornamented Malaysian vocal traditions. In addition, two critically acclaimed South African classical vocalists make their Carnegie Hall recital debuts.
  • UBUNTU: Music and Arts of South Africa concerts are currently available only as part of these subscription series.


    Ubuntu: Legendary Performers
    The UBUNTU festival celebrates the many musical threads that together make up South Africa’s vibrant culture. Iconic trumpeter and composer Hugh Masekela is joined by singer Vusi Mahlasela to sing freedom songs; world renowned Ladysmith Black Mambazo and friends celebrate the voice in South African music; and Grammy Award–winning singer Angélique Kidjo honors legendary singer and activist Miriam Makeba.
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    Ubuntu: Traditional Music
    Many of the musical threads that are celebrated in UBUNTU: Music and Arts of South Africa are deeply rooted in tradition. This series presents outstanding musicians who keep tradition alive with their revelatory performances. Madala Kunene and Phuzekhemisi perform maskandi music, popularly known as the "Zulu blues," while Young Stars: Traditional Cape Malay Singers and the David Kramer Band share folk music from the Cape region. The beautiful music of the Xhosa people and other South African traditions get the spotlight when Dizu Plaatjies and his group Ibuyambo make music that's pure, proud, and unforgettable.
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    Signatures
    The indelible signature styles of great artists make this eclectic series a marvelous adventure. The series marks the return to Zankel Hall by Abdullah Ibrahim, the greatest exponent of Cape jazz. There's the remarkable Kronos Quartet in a program that includes the New York premieres of works by Derek Charke and Aleksandra Vrebalov. L'Arpeggiata puts its unique interpretive signature on music of Purcell. There's also the 50th-anniversary concert by the Meredith Monk ensemble in honor of Monk's groundbreaking career.
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    Off the Beaten Track
    The spirit of invention drives the artists appearing in this series. Taking risks and pushing the creative envelope, these are artists who always command our attention. Young Stars: Traditional Cape Malay Singers and the David Kramer Band perform fascinating folk music from the Cape region of South Africa, and the American Composers Orchestra perform The Seven Deadly Sins—Weill's "ballet in song"—with soprano Shara Worden. The ever-mesmerizing Meredith Monk and her musical friends perform selections from her opera ATLAS and new arrangements of existing works, while L'Arpeggiata performs arias and dances from 17th-century Italy.
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    The Originals
    Daring, inventive, and always captivating—these are the qualities that define an original. This series features the soulful South African voices of Ladysmith Black Mambazo; Grammy Award–winning vocalist Angélique Kidjo celebrating the life and music of iconic South African singer and political activist Miriam Makeba; and the radiant Audra McDonald, winner of five Tony and two Grammy awards.
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    Around the Globe
    From South Africa to Spain, through Celtic lands and India, dynamic and daring musicians bring the vibrant music of their homelands to Carnegie Hall. South African musical freedom fighters and icons, legendary trumpeter and composer Hugh Masekela and singer Vusi Mahlasela, sing freedom songs to celebrate the anniversary of 20 years of democracy in their country. Madrid-born Diego el Cigala's incendiary brand of flamenco is touched with Cuban rhythms and Argentine tango. Tabla master Zakir Hussain is joined by Celtic and Indian musicians in a lively concert that fuses the two musical traditions.
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    The Shape of Jazz
    From the Cape of South Africa to Colombia, this series showcases pulse-quickening jazz on a global scale. Kesivan and the Lights bring their high-octane Cape jazz to town for their Zankel Hall debut. Ryan Truesdall's Gil Evans Project presents works by one of jazz's great visionaries, composer-arranger Gil Evans. Colombian harp master Edmar Castañeda and his trio dazzle with virtuosity and their soulful improvisations. Finally, Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band touch the heart with their lyrical groove.
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    World Views
    Super-charged music from three continents performed by the most unique traditional musicians in the world make this series an essential. South Africa's Madala Kunene performs with his quintet and Phuzekhemisi brings singers and dancers to share heartfelt interpretations of maskandi music, or "Zulu blues." Dizu Plaatjies  and his group Ibuyambo perform the vibrant music of various ethnic groups of South Africa, while vocalist Lucilla Galeazzi brings the folk music of Italy to life with her ensemble. The series ends with a group of remarkable musicians from Afghanistan, India, and Tajikistan, who capture the exuberant energy of the 16th century Mughal court.
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    Great Singers III: Evenings of Song

    Get to know the talents of these vocalists on the brink of major careers in the intimate setting of Weill Recital Hall. This revelatory series features singers who have cut their teeth at opera houses and concert halls throughout the US and Europe, and includes alumni of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center—training grounds that nurture blooming vocal talent and signify their stature as the opera stars of tomorrow.  

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  • UBUNTU Festival Events

    Carnegie Hall Presents
    Friday, October 10, 2014 | 8 PM
    Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage

    Carnegie Hall Presents
    Saturday, October 11, 2014 | 9 PM
    Zankel Hall

    Carnegie Hall Presents
    Monday, October 13, 2014 | 7:30 PM
    Weill Recital Hall

    Carnegie Hall Presents
    Friday, October 17, 2014 | 8:30 PM
    Zankel Hall

    Carnegie Hall Presents
    Saturday, October 18, 2014 | 8 PM
    Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage

    Carnegie Hall Presents
    Friday, October 24, 2014 | 7:30 PM
    Weill Recital Hall

    Carnegie Hall Presents
    Saturday, October 25, 2014 | 9 PM
    Zankel Hall

    Carnegie Hall Presents
    Monday, October 27, 2014 | 7:30 PM
    Zankel Hall

    Carnegie Hall Presents
    Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 7:30 PM
    Zankel Hall

    Carnegie Hall Presents
    Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 8:30 PM
    Zankel Hall

    Carnegie Hall Presents
    Saturday, November 1, 2014 | 9 PM
    Zankel Hall

    Carnegie Hall Presents
    Wednesday, November 5, 2014 | 8 PM
    Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage

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