The Hope College Great Performance Series will end one of its most successful seasons ever with a sold-out performance by Ladysmith Black Mambazo on Wednesday, March 15, at 7:30 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.
The concert is the earliest sell-out in the history of the series. No tickets will be available at the door, and there is no waiting list.
For more than 30 years, the members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo have married the intricate rhythms and harmonies of their native South African musical traditions to the sounds and sentiments of Christian gospel music.
The 10-man a capella group came to the attention of most Americans when legendary singer Paul Simon incorporated the group into his recording and tour for "Graceland" in 1986. Since then they have gone on to win a Grammy award and share the stage with performers such as Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Ben Harper, and George Clinton.
The group has also performed at the 1996 Summer Olympics, South African Presidential Inaugurations, Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies, on countless television appearances and for Pope John Paul II.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo is led by Joseph Shabalala, who assembled the group in the 1960s. Ladysmith is the name of Shabalala's hometown; Black is a reference to oxen, the strongest of all farm animals; and Mambazo is the Zulu word for axe, a symbol of the group's ability to chop down any singing rival in competitions.
The group received a 2006 Grammy nomination, and has just released "Long Walk to Freedom," which features guest appearances by Zap Mama, Melissa Etheridge, Joe McBride, Sarah McLachlan, Natalie Merchant, Taj Mahal, Emmylou Harris, and more.