Ladysmith Black Mambazo Graces the Paramount Stage
James Miranda, Featured Writer
Four-time Grammy winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo took to the Paramount Hudson Valley Theater to perform as part of their American tour last Friday.
The South Africa-based vocal group arrived at the Paramount at 4 p.m. and got to work immediately. Approximately 400 people came to listen to Mambazo’s deep, rhythmic tones fill the theater.
Mambazo performed for around two hours, allowing the crowd to listen to their voices, which can make any instrument sound lousy.
“I would use their music in my classes,” said Joan Swider from New Windsor. “I liked to present a wide variety of music and [Mambazo’s music] is very pure.”
In the middle of the show, Mambazo sang “Long Walk to Freedom” in honor of former President of South Africa and close friend, Nelson Mandela.
Mambazo was Mandela’s favorite band. He called them, “South Africa’s cultural ambassadors to the World.”
When founder and musical director Joseph Shabalala initially formed the group of nine, they wanted to educate about South African culture. They’ve illustrated what soulful music is since the 60s, with tones that harken back to their South African roots.
Fans were looking most forward not just to the melodic singing patterns, but also to the physical activity that the group is best known for.
“They have a great rhythm and great physicality,” said Mahopac resident George Robinson. “I appreciate the choreography and energy.”
Fans were constantly swaying and bobbing their heads to the harmonic inflections of Mambazo.
They ended the show on a high note performing their rendition of “Amazing Grace” and left to a standing ovation from the crowd.