Paul Simon To Join Ladysmith Black Mambazo As Guest Artist in Concert at Carnegie Hall on Saturday, October 18
Other guest artists at the October 18 concert are the South African ensembles Thokoza (six-woman choral group), the Bakithi Kumalo Band (led by Paul Simon’s longtime bass player), and Shabalala Rhythm, as well as Zulu maskandi musician Maqhinga Radebe.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo was formed in the early 1960s by Joseph Shabalala and won numerous singing competitions in South Africa before rising to international prominence in the mid-1980s after performing with Paul Simon on his Graceland album and tour. This concert marks the first time they have performed together in New York City since 1993. The all-male choral ensemble takes its name from Shabalala’s hometown of Ladysmith (three hours east of Johannesburg), with black being a reference to oxen and mambazo being the Zulu word for “chopping axe”—a symbol of the group’s ability to chop down any singing rival that might challenge them. In the UBUNTU festival, Ladysmith Black Mambazo performs with special guests in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage, and appears a second time in a Carnegie Hall Family Concert on Sunday, October 19 in Zankel Hall.
Tickets for Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Friends, priced $35 to $80, are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website, carnegiehall.org.
UBUNTU: Music and Arts of South Africa
UBUNTU festival programming at Carnegie Hall launches on Friday, October 10, with Hugh Masekela and Vusi Mahlesela performing a concert entitled Twenty Years of Freedom, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first free elections in South Africa, with special guests Dave Matthews and Somi.
With its UBUNTU festival, Carnegie Hall salutes South Africa, a country with its dizzying patchwork of cultures, eleven official languages, and a cultural life like none other. Roughly translated as “I am because you are,” Ubuntu is a philosophy from Southern Africa that emphasizes the importance of community, a way of thinking that has influenced recent moves toward reconciliation and cultural inclusion in South Africa as fostered by South Africa’s former president, the late Nelson Mandela. The spirit of this philosophy is embodied in the festival’s programming, which features a varied lineup of artists representing the many threads that together make up the country’s musical culture.
“In creating the UBUNTU festival, we were inspired by the cultural life of this incredibly diverse country,” said Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall’s Executive and Artistic Director. “It is a nation with a dynamic, often surprising culture like no other—the birthplace of larger-than-life musical presences like Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Abdullah Ibrahim, and now, a seemingly endless array of vocal talent from every corner of the country. Our festival also comes twenty years after the first free elections in South Africa, an anniversary made even more resonant by the recent passing of Nelson Mandela. The country’s landscape continues to evolve, and this makes for fascinating explorations throughout the arts.”
Dedicated to Mr. Mandela’s legacy, the UBUNTU festival features Carnegie Hall performances by artists representing different musical traditions, including concerts paying tribute to notable South African icons and milestones. In addition to showcasing world-renowned South African musicians who are beloved the world over, festival programming will also provide a window for audiences into many kinds of South African music that may be less well-known: the powerful spirituality and dynamism of the maskandi music of the Zulu people, music from the Cape region including a Cape Malay choir and folk musicians from remote regions of the Karoo desert, and two thrilling generations of South African jazz artists. In addition, two critically-acclaimed South African classical vocalists will make their New York recital debuts as part of the festival. Looking beyond performances at Carnegie Hall, the UBUNTU festival will extend citywide through events at prestigious partner organizations, with programming showcasing visual art, film, and dance, as well as panel discussions featuring leading social and political voices on the significant cultural issues.
UBUNTU partners include: African Film Festival Inc.; Anna Zorina Gallery; Apollo Theater; David Krut Projects; Flushing Town Hall; Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture; Jazz at Lincoln Center; The Julliard School; Keyes Art Projects; Margaret Mead Film Festival at the American Museum of Natural History; Marian Goodman Gallery; Mark Borghi Fine Art; The New Victory Theater; New York City Center; The New York Public Library; The Paley Center for Media; Queens College, City University of New York; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; Ubuntu Education Fund; Weeksville Heritage Center; and the World Music Institute.
Carnegie Hall has launched a special UBUNTU festival website, carnegiehall.org/SouthAfrica, which will feature information on festival events, interviews with artists, videos introducing the music being performed, and other content designed to illuminate festival offerings. For a video overview of the festival, please click here.
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