Ladysmith Black Mambazo has been singing together for 50 years. The group was first brought together in 1964 and they are returning to Northwest Florida, following a performance in Pensacola in 2006. You can hear them again on March 21 at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center.
Albert Mazibuko is a co-founder and one of the last original members of the group. Sandra Averhart spoke with Mazibuko last week.
On being back in America:
“It’s very exciting and very special. America has been our second home. We call it a home away from home, because we feel at home every time when we’re here. And, we’re so grateful that we’ve been embraced in this country. So, we are comfortable and happy to be a part of the entertainment and happiness of the world.”
On the highlights of a decades-spanning career:
"When Ladysmith joined Paul Simon, because that was when [we] were introduced to the world stage. After that everything has fallen into the right place."
On winning a 4th Grammy Award for live album "Singing for Peace Around the World":
"It was exciting to win the Grammy and felt like it was the first time because these are the songs that have been chosen by our fans all around the world, including [former South African President] Dr. Mandela. These are the songs fans want us to perform everywhere we go. We now record every concert, listen and pick the best recordings for the album."
Reflecting on the group's relationship with late South African leader Nelson Mandela:
"It was a wonderful blessing when we met him in 1990 and learned from him that he listened to our music when he was in jail. He gave us the title of “Ambassadors of South African Music.” Five years ago we met with Mandela at his home and had lunch, etc. We were so blessed and it was something that will stay with us the rest of our lives to sit next to this icon. We were so proud to have been asked to perform at Mandela’s Presidential inauguration in 1994; that inauguration performance for Mandela was the highest of the highlights.”
Ladysmith Black Mambazo's concert in Niceville will include a musical tribute to Mandela.