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There was nothing outlandish or extravagant on the set when Ladysmith Black Mambazo came to Sanders Theatre on Saturday. The stage was not adorned with showy lights or a full supporting dance crew. As the eight man a capella group started singing, it was apparent that their collective voice was the only instrument needed to light up the stage.

Founded in the early 1960s by current front man Joseph Shabalala, Ladysmith Black Mambazo combines traditional the South African vocal style of “isicathamiya”—a genre developed by black mine workers singing as they worked brutal conditions—with Christian gospel music. Since its early days the group has developed into a cultural icon. It collaborated with Paul Simon on his album “Graceland” in 1986 and won its first Grammy­ for the album “Shaka Zulu” ­­in 1988. The members were even hailed by Nelson Mandela as “cultural ambassadors” of South Africa after the end of apartheid. They have gone on to recieve worldwide acclaim, winning 2 more Grammys and performing at prestigious events including the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony. While their concert at Sanders Theatre meandered at the beginning and was repetitive at times, the group’s infectious gusto and enthusiasm turned the show into a raucous and entertaining delight.

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