Double dose of Ladysmith

Shadows in the dining room

We saw Ladysmith Black Mambazo at Calvin College last night. What a great show! I’d heard them before, as most people have, on Paul Simon’s Graceland. But seeing them live is an entirely different experience.

Not only do they create beautiful, rhythmic melodies with their ten different voices, but they also wave, dance, hop, kick, march and use a lot of humor while singing their songs. I was expecting the rich, joyful music, but I wasn’t expecting to giggle while watching. Living in South Africa during apartheid, they’ve all experienced sadness, yet every one of their songs was uplifting, and their stage presence was cheerful and appreciative.

The opening act was African Acapella, a group of African students who attend Calvin. They were a lot of fun too and had a contingent of very supportive fans. The two groups got together at the end for a 19-voice rendition of a Ladysmith song. Ya gotta love WYCE for helping to bring music like this to Grand Rapids.

Bonus: When I turned the dial to NPR for the ride-to-work news, they had an in-studio interview/concert with Ladysmith, tying into the 10th anniversary of Mandella’s election.