Ladysmith Black Mambazo release a new album, Songs From A Zulu Farm

Ladysmith Black Mambazo new album,  Songs From A Zulu Farm
Ladysmith Black Mambazo new album, Songs From A Zulu Farm

Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the revered South African vocal group, are set to release their latest album, Songs From A Zulu Farm.  The album comprises a cornucopia of songs that older members of the group would have heard and sung themselves as kids growing up on Zulu farms in the 1940s and 1950s.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo are more than simply a singing group; over the course of half a century, they have become legends of the international stage, and of world culture – a powerful and unique musical emblem of freedom and celebration whose first performances date back to an incredible 52 years.

Founder and group leader Joseph Shabalala, grew up on a white-owned farm near the town of Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal, what was once the heart of the Zulu kingdom, and left in 1958 to find work in nearby Durban, where he joined a choir before setting up his own group, The Black Ones, in 1960, inspired by the vocal tradition of acapella isicathamiya singing, a style that originated among South Africa’s black miner workers transported far from their homes to work six-day weeks. On the seventh day, they sang.

By 1964, following a series of dreams and regular success in local singing competitions, Shabalala renamed the group Ladysmith Black Mambazo – the latter word meaning ‘axe’, after their ability to cut down the competition. Their first album appeared in the early 1970s, the first of a catalogue that encompasses more than 50 recordings, but it was their role in Paul Simon’s Graceland in 1986 that finally brought them to the global stage, with platinum sales, three Grammy awards and 15 nominations to follow in an extraordinary career that has seen them work with artists ranging from Stevie Wonder to Dolly Parton and Taj Mahal.

Today, the group spearheads a foundation to teach the tradition of isicathamiya to young South Africans, and continues to record and perform all over the world. With Songs From A Zulu Farm, it’s to their childhoods, their homeland, and to a world of innocence and joy, that they return with an album that dwells on their roots and native traditions.

Songs From A Zulu Farm is the first of a trilogy of albums that sing of the group’s life experiences in South Africa, taking listeners back to the ways of life and nature of group members who were born and raised on the farms outside of Ladysmith.

This collection of original and traditional songs that sing of life on the farm coincides with a world tour including a 26-date UK tour in May and June.

Songs From a Zulu Farm
by Ladysmith Black Mambazo is released by Proper on 7th February.



Songs From A Zulu Farm – The new album from South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Songs From a Zulu Farm

Brought to the attention of the world through Paul Simon’s Graceland album in the 80’s, Ladysmith Black Mambazo have been around making music for over 50 years.

The group are about to release a collection of African folk songs that they would have learned and sung themselves as children growing up on Zulu farms in the 1940s and 50s.

Songs From A Zulu Farm is the first of a trilogy of albums that sing of the group’s life experiences in South Africa, taking listeners back to the ways of life and nature of group members who were born and raised on the farms outside of Ladysmith.

The release of this collection of traditional folk songs will coincide with a world tour that will see the group heading to the UK in May and June for an extensive 26 night stay.

Songs From A Zulu Farm comprises sixteen songs steeped in the riches of Zulu traditionand begin with troublesome fowl, Yangiluma Inkukhu (The Biting Chicken) and some top-of-the-class animal noises from the group before they apply the familiar balm of Ladysmith’s matchless harmonies.

This is followed by Laduma, a praise song to thunder and to the power of the Zulu people and the voices of the group itself. And after the thunder, the rain, and the tender call of Children Come Home, its descending group harmonies and Joseph Shabalala’s counterpoint lead voice as warm and encompassing as a blanket and open fire.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo: Songs From a Zulu Farm is released by Proper on 7 February.

The group tour the UK from 19 May until 22nd June 2011



Dour Festival: 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th July

Dour Festival 15, 16, 17th, 18th July

Dour Festival 2010

Dour Festival in southern Belgium has released its full line-up! This excellent festival for fans of alternative music in whatever genre you can think of has 200 bands over 4 days on 6 stages and music from 12am to 5am.

Recently awarded the prize for the best medium-sized European festival, the line-up this year really reflects its stock as one of the leading European festivals.

Band to particularly look out for include Faith No More’s reformation, De La Soul & Rhythm Roots All Stars, Simian Mobile Disco, Gwar, A-Track, Calvin Harris, The Maccabees, The Futureheads, Dave Clarke, Benga feat. Sgt Pokes, Skream, Archie Bronson Outift, Spoon, The Raveonettes, Devendra Banhart, Paul Kalkbrenner, Atari Teenage Riot Gui Boratto, Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip, Etienne de Crécy (Beats’n’Cubes), Brother Ali feat. Bk 1, Mayer Hawthorne, Third Wold, Mr. Vegas, DevilDriver, Shining, Fucked Up, The Very Best, Dum Dum Girls… the list goes on and on, so have a look here for more info.

Travel to Dour is easy either with Big Green Coach from London, to nearby airports or by Eurostar to Brussels or Lille, and for the price of the ticket (€93 + €17 camping) for 4 days of live music, even with travel it’s a bargain compared to UK festivals.

For those who don’t know the festival, Dour is in the French speaking part of Belgium. It is a very European, broad and open-minded festival that welcomes not only different nationalities, but a broad palette of different musical styles.  It has a capacity of roughly 40,000 people a day so is very humane in its size when spread over the six stages.

Here is the Dour Festival site.

Here is the Dour Festival Facebook group.

Here is the Dour Festival Twitter feed.

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The Latitude Festival announce headline acts

Latitude Festival 2010
Latitude Festival 2010

The Latitude Festival celebrates it’s fifth year in 2010, taking place at Henham Park Estate in Suffolk between the 15th and 18th of July. Headliners for this years dates have now been announced and look set to follow the example of past years in making this Latitude Festival another not to be missed.

Making appearances on the main Obelisk Arena will be 2009 Brit Award Winner Florence and The Machine headline the proceedings on Friday night.

Legendary Scottish band Belle & Sebastian, who have not played live together since 2006 will be making a more than welcome return to the stage on Saturday night.

And topping the bill on Sunday will be the literate New York quartet Vampire Weekend, whose own breed of intelligent collegiate pop has now reached mainstream success.

The headliners will be supported by a more than able cast including Luke Steele’s incredible live show in the form of  Empire of the Sun on Friday, Brighton’s own The Maccabees will support on Saturday and the spell binding musical brilliance of Rodrigo y Gabriella will bring some culture to the proceedings on Sunday night.

On The Word Arena headliners are The National, The xx, and Grizzly Bear with support coming from Charlotte Gainsbourg and The Horrors.

The Lake Stage will be curated by Huw Stephens who will be introducing his freshest tips for stardom, while the Sunrise Stage provides the place to hear tomorrows stars today.

There will also be a massive line up of Comedy and Theatre taking place at Latitude in the Arts Arenas.

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu – Bapa, World music never sounded so good

If the term ‘world music’ sends you running for the hills, settle down and enjoy this exquisite track from the awesome Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu a native of the east Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of Australia who sings in Yolngu dialects.

The single Bapa (Father) is a delicate track that on which Gurrumul’s exquisite and transcendental voice and his hauntingly beautiful music penetrate the soul.

Gurrumul’s writes emotionally charged poetic folk songs that tell stories of his land, his ancestory and his culture, performed with the simplest of musical accompaniments using his extraordinary voice as the main instrument.

He toured for eight years with the internationally successful Yothu Yindi, but found that his blindness made the constant travel exhausting and so returned to Elcho Island where he formed The Saltwater Band.

A meeting with classically trained bassist Michael Hohnen was the catalyst for Gurrumul to record a solo album. Opting for the less is more approach Gurrumul uses his voice as the albums main instrument with sparse backing of his guitar and occasional bass.

This album, simply titled Gurrumul, has seeped into the mainstream consciousness of Australia, causing a nation to reassess its relationship with its indigenous people.

Winning a string of awards in 2008 including Aria Award for ‘Best Independent Release’, Limelight Award for ‘Emerging Artist Of The Year’ and 3 AIR (Australian Independent Record) Awards, in June 2009 an APRA Award followed for ‘Breakthrough Songwriter Of The Year’.

Meanwhile in Europe Gurrumul’s music is captivating a new audience with the album entering the charts across the continent including a top 10 chart position in Germany. In Britain earlier this year he appeared on Later With Jools Holland and played at Islington’s Union Chapel to great acclaim; this summer he performed at the Latitude Festival and at Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu – Bapa


What the music press have said about Gurrumul;

“The greatest voice this continent has ever recorded…” Sydney Morning Herald

….”his celestial voice and his swelling acoustic songs full of dignity reduce you to tears, aching with the pain of the past and hope for the future…” Q Magazine

“The sound he makes is extraordinary….It feels like a privilege being allowed to listen in.”  Daily Telegraph

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu – London concert  Shepherd’s Bush Empire – November 8th 2009

Tickets £18.50 – Box office – 08444 77 2000 /