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 personified by Abdullah Ibrahim and Kesivan and the Lights, 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–sopranos Pretty Yende and Elza van den Heever–make their Carnegie Hall recital debuts.
Dizu Plaatjies, David Kramer, Hugh Masekela, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Angélique Kidjo introduce UBUNTU.
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Hear from some of the artists featured next season, and learn more about our 2014–2015 season offerings on our YouTube channel.