Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Ladysmith Black Mambazo Releases New Collaborative Album

Yesterday Ladysmith Black Mambazo released a new album, Long Walk To Freedom [Listen], which features collaborations with some awesome international and local musicians. (Ladysmith Black Mambazo is an a cappella group that is famous for its collaboration with Paul Simon on the album Graceland, from 1986, in case you are unfamiliar with the name.) The only reason I know that the album is out, however, is because I received an announcement email to say that Sarah McLachlan would be performing with the group on two upcoming TV appearances: The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, which was actually aired two days, and Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show, today. As far as I know neither of these shows are shown on South African TV, but I was very excited to see Sarah collaborating with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and therefore was curious as to how this collaboration came about and wanted to find out more about the album.

So off to Google I went.

Two minutes later I had found out that the album had been released yesterday (thanks for the news coverage South African press!), and not only does it feature "Homeless", the collaboration with Sarah McLachlan, but it also features collaborations with some of my other favourite performers, including: Melissa Etheridge, Emmylou Harris, Natalie Merchant, and a cappella group Zap Mama from Belgium. The album also features some local legends and up-and-coming artists, including: Lucky Dube, Vusi Mahlasela [Listen], Hugh Masekela, and Thandiswa, amongst others.

If you have time, click on the links and find out more about the local contributors (and buy their music, if it's available). They are some of our national treasures, and their music, often without us even realising it, intrinsically provides the soundtrack and rhythms as we go about our daily lives all over this beautiful country. It's one of those things - that we cannot really explain - that defines our collective bond as Africans, no matter what race we may be classified as or what religion we may follow.

I, meanwhile, can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Long Walk To Freedom.

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