Message From The Center: Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Ladysmith Black MambazoOn March 26, 2020, CAP UCLA presented its first online program. Little did we know that this would become a “new normal” for us, not only during the pandemic, but for the foreseeable future.

In an effort to keep our commitment to present perennial favorites Ladysmith Black Mambazo, who were en route from South Africa to Los Angeles when the Safer at Home order was announced, the CAP UCLA production team conceived of an alternative to a live performance — a filmed version that would be broadcast online and on air in partnership with local public radio station KCRW.

The filming itself, in the cavernous and empty Royce Hall, was extremely poignant. The performance was dedicated to Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s founder Joseph Shabalala, who had recently passed away. It was also a tribute that prefigured the all-too-frequent tributes that would follow to those we would lose to the pandemic. And the clear absence of an audience underscored the fact that the performing arts were entering an entirely new chapter.

The resulting film, however, was also a gift in many ways. It brought a moment of joy to many audience members reeling from the threat of COVID-19 and relegated to hunkering down at home. For CAP UCLA it was an opportunity to rethink how we support artists, and in the ensuing months, we would go on to provide financial support to some 300 artists devastated by the loss of their livelihoods.

We are extremely grateful to all of you who have been with us on this journey through a period of tremendous disruption. As a way of saying thank you, we have decided to bring back the Ladysmith Black Mambazo concert – the one that started it all. We hope you will join us on Sunday, March 21 at 5PM PDT on CAP UCLA Online to experience again, or for the very first time, this historic moment in CAP UCLA’s history. It’s free and all are welcome! All you have to do is sign up here.