Ignored, Maligned, and Forgotten Music

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Zintombi - Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Legbamel Not-Pop

I sometimes think that my love of a band’s sound increases exponentially with each additional band member. I like relatively few solo acts and duos, some trios and quartets, but when you start adding horns or other additional instruments my ears start to perk and my toes to tap. Even a capella groups get better with additional voices. As a case in point, consider the wonderful Ladysmith Black Mambazo. I love Paul Simon, but never more so than when he’s backed by the depth of these voices.

The group stands alone even better, in case you’d not heard them on their own. When I looked at the album “Classic Tracks” in writing this post, I was shocked to see that it was released 20 years ago, yet I still listen to it regularly. I prefer the older, a capella songs to the sound they moved to with their 1991 album, “One World, One Heart”, where they've added background music. For me, Ladysmith Black Mambazo has so much going on vocally that instrumentation is superfluous.

I decided to include Zintombi today in part because my two favorite songs were not on Grooveshark and in part because I like to pretend sometimes that they're singing a great song about zombies, if only I could understand it. I know they aren't, to spare us both the comments, but what if they were warning me and I simply couldn't understand them? Sometimes imagination is more fun than reality. Whatever the real topic of Zontombi, and whether the guys are trying to tell us how to survive, I hope you like it as much as I do.

2 Responses so far.

  1. SonDan says:

    Great post. I was a huge fan of Ladysmith Black Mambazo when I was introduced to them by Paul Simon and his Graceland music decades ago.

    It is so disgraceful that I haven't kept up with them since then -- so I appreciate you letting me know what they have been up to.

    Thank You.

  2. legbamel says:

    One of my favorite LBM moments was actually a Sesame Street video in which they sang. I love to watch them as much as to hear them. I definitely recommend catching up with their large body of work.

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