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Cheryl Crouch
IU Bloomington Auxiliaries

Maria K. Talbert
Indiana University Auditorium

Last modified: Tuesday, February 17, 2009

IU Auditorium presents Grammy Award-winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo

WHAT: Grammy Award-winning a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo
WHERE: IU Auditorium, 1211 E. Seventh St.
WHEN: Monday, March 2, 7:30 p.m.
TICKETS: $29-$43 for the general public and $15-$33 for IU Bloomington students and children. Tickets are available at or at the IU Auditorium Box Office, 1211 E. Seventh St., 812-855-1103.

Feb. 17, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- For more than three decades, Grammy Award-winning a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo has merged South African music and dance traditions with spiritual messages of compassion, love and global harmony. On Monday, March 2, at 7:30 p.m., Bloomington audiences can experience this powerful musical sensation at IU Auditorium.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Ladysmith Black Mambazo

"We're thrilled to bring this world-renowned group to IU Auditorium," said Doug Booher, director of IU Auditorium. "Ladysmith Black Mambazo has a widespread appeal that speaks to people of all ages and backgrounds. Their harmonies are so powerful and moving -- anyone who sees this show will never forget the experience."

Joseph Shabalala, a South African farmboy turned factory worker, first began gathering talented vocalists and arranging multi-layered, tightly woven harmonies in the early 1960s. After a series of recordings throughout the '70s and early '80s, the group rocketed to international fame in 1986 with its appearance on Paul Simon's landmark recording, Graceland.

The thematic elements in Mambazo's music that appeal to South Africans, said Shabalala, are the same elements that appeal to a universal audience in all parts of the globe. In that sense, the group has come to be recognized as South Africa's musical ambassadors to the world.

"People love our music because we have a story in this music," Shabalala said. "It's a very deep story about tradition, about taking care of yourself, about reminding people to get together and work very hard for themselves. We are treated like kings because of this music. When the police and the politicians (in South Africa) listen to this sound, they love us. They say, 'This is the African sound. Therefore, let these people go wherever they want to go and spread this music around the world.'"

During their shows, the nine-man group is in near constant motion -- sometimes as individuals, sometimes as a unit -- with simple hand gestures, giant leaps and bounds across the stage or overhead kicks that seem to defy the most basic laws of anatomical flexibility.

"Ladysmith Black Mambazo will never end, especially because now we have a young generation that will follow us," said longtime member Abednego Mazibuko. "We are very grateful for that."

Young or old, in motion or at rest, regionally popular in the '60s or world-renowned in the 21st century, Ladysmith Black Mambazo has spent the past 30-plus years committed to a message that's as simple as it is constant: "Only one thing," said Shabalala. "Love."

For more information about this show and the current season, including audio and video clips, visit

IU Auditorium

Since opening its doors in 1941, IU Auditorium has served as a university and community gathering place, hosting a diverse array of world-class artists, entertainers, musicians and lecturers in an opulent 3,200-seat theatre. The IU Auditorium Box Office is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets for all Auditorium events are also available by phone at 812-855-1103 and online.