Ladysmith Black Mambazo
South African Vocalists
Ladysmith Black Mambazo just got an endorsement deal with the microphone manufacturer, Shure. So it was no surprise when they appeared on stage in front of a set of matched Beta 87 vocal microphones. Lead singer Joseph Shabalala also used a Beta 87, but his was a brand new UHF wireless. Since the group performs acapella, there was nothing else to be found on stage except for a bunch of mike stands and cables.
I provided the group with 3 monitor mixes into 4 monitor wedges for the musicians on stage.
If you think you don't know who Ladysmith Black Mambazo is, you're probably wrong. You would recognize their vocal harmonies from Paul Simon's albums, Life Savers commercials, films like The Lion King, and many other places.
This is the third or fourth time I have mixed monitors for them, and the experience was as magical this time as it had been in the past. The setup for this group would appear to be amazingly simple, but it took hours to get the sound of the monitors exactly right. Most of the time in sound check was spent without the group present. When Fred (their front-of-house engineer) and I had finished making adjustments and the group was brought in to do their part, everything was fine!
The performance was an amazing thing to see. In addition to their vocals in both English and Zulu, they did a lot of South African dancing during their songs. The audience was held mesmerized while they were on stage, and the group's spirituality, energy, and sense of fun came across very clearly in everything they did. They obviously enjoy what they do, and all those in attendance did too. They were on stage for a little over an hour and a half, and took a 15 minute intermission in the middle. A standing ovation was awaiting them at the end of their show.
See them if you can! You won't forget it.
Visit them at Ladysmith Black Mambazo
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