“It isn’t merely the grace and power of their dancing or the beauty of their singing that rivets the attention, but the sheer joy and love that emanates from their being.” —Paul Simon
On March 16, 2020, six days after the stay-at-home order was issued in Los Angeles, CAP UCLA filmed its first pandemic performance on the stage of Royce Hall to an audience of a few dozen people that included three camera operators, a modest crew, a handful of press and a few very lucky staff members. The result was a fully-produced and memorable performance captured on film from one of the world’s most-beloved and generous a cappella groups, Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
In early March, while en route to the U.S. to resume their tour—which had already been rescheduled due to the death of their founder, Joseph Shabalala, a month before—the company was met with the quickly spreading nationwide COVID-19 shutdown. They saw their tour disintegrated before their eyes as, one by one, each performance was canceled. Except for one, at Royce Hall, where they were invited to shelter by CAP UCLA as plans were underway to ensure that “the show must go on” before their imminent return to South Africa.
KCRW generously offered to broadcast the resulting concert on March 26 live on air and on YouTube bringing the joyful music of Ladysmith Black Mambazo to the world.
We are pleased to invite you to revisit this historic concert or experience it for the very first time with us on the CAP UCLA Channel, Sunday, March 21 at 5 pm PDT. The performance is free with registration.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
For over 50 years, South Africa’s five-time Grammy Award winner, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, has warmed the hearts of audiences around the world with their uplifting vocal harmonies, signature dance moves and charming onstage banter. It was Nelson Mandela who anointed the group “South Africa’s cultural ambassadors to the world,” a designation the members carry with them with the highest honor. With a deep respect for both their cultural and personal history, Ladysmith Black Mambazo is ever-evolving with an eye toward their long musical legacy.
Since the world discovered their powerful a cappella vocals from Paul Simon’s Graceland album, the original members have welcomed a younger generation in their mission, passing along the tradition of storytelling and spreading a message of peace, love, and harmony to millions of people the world over. Now led by the four sons of group founder Joseph Shabalala, after joining the group almost 25 years ago, an infusion of youthful energy and the promise of a bright future has a firm grip within the group.