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Joseph Shabalala: the 2009 Grammy winner In his own words

From: David Schulman
Series: Musicians in their own words
Length: 05:17

Joseph Shabalala describes how the vision for Ladysmith Black Mambazo came to him in a dream -- in four-part harmony. Shabalala's voice takes on multiple characters as he talks about the transformative power of music in his life.

Josephshabalala_small Ladysmith Black Mambazo has a vocal style that echoes with Zulu songs, and with the trills that farmers in South Africa use to call their oxen. In this piece, leader Joseph Shabalala talks about the origins of Mambazo's sound, and the power of the music to bring personal and social change. Shabalala and his group scored another Grammy in 2009 — Best Traditional World Music Album.

Two versions of this piece are available. The full mix (5:17) includes Shabalala's story of being interrogated by police during South Africa's Apartheid regime. The short mix (3:06) will fit a four-minute segment. As in all the pieces in David Schulman's CPB-supported Musicians in their own words series, the story is told through a mix of the performer's voice and music. There is no reporter's voice heard, allowing the feature to be seamlessly incorporated into station news, talk, or music programming. Scripts for intro and outro are attached. This feature works well pegged to local performances. This piece debuted on PRX. It includes some tape that originally aired as part of a feature on NPR's All Things Considered; click additional information link for details.

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Piece Description

Ladysmith Black Mambazo has a vocal style that echoes with Zulu songs, and with the trills that farmers in South Africa use to call their oxen. In this piece, leader Joseph Shabalala talks about the origins of Mambazo's sound, and the power of the music to bring personal and social change. Shabalala and his group scored another Grammy in 2009 — Best Traditional World Music Album.

Two versions of this piece are available. The full mix (5:17) includes Shabalala's story of being interrogated by police during South Africa's Apartheid regime. The short mix (3:06) will fit a four-minute segment. As in all the pieces in David Schulman's CPB-supported Musicians in their own words series, the story is told through a mix of the performer's voice and music. There is no reporter's voice heard, allowing the feature to be seamlessly incorporated into station news, talk, or music programming. Scripts for intro and outro are attached. This feature works well pegged to local performances. This piece debuted on PRX. It includes some tape that originally aired as part of a feature on NPR's All Things Considered; click additional information link for details.

4 Comments Atom Feed

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Beautifully Simple!

Yummilisicous! Okay, that's not a word but this is truly one sweet piece. I can't add anything that hasn't been said already except, thank you!

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Review of Joseph Shabalala: In his own words

Shabalala has one of the most recognizeable and amazing speaking voices in the world of music, and the producers are wise enough to let us have it essentially unadorned, telling tales of great power. I can't imagine any serious public radio listener (whose interests have expanded beyond classical music) not being enthralled. And after Mandela and Tutu, he may be the great South African voice

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Review of Jospeh Shabalala: In his own words

This is beautifully constructed, with just the right proportions of words and music -- and the producer has the good sense to let the music drop out when the words are especially compelling. It sounds like Shabalala is whispering in your ear, telling you stories. I feel like I can see him leaning closer when he has something important to say. I'm using this to fill a news hole in the American Radio Works Mandela doc, so it makes a nice complement.

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Broadcast History

PRX debut. This piece includes :10 of tape included in a piece that aired March 8, 2003 on All Things Considered. The rest of the material has not aired prior to posting on PRX.

Transcript

Keywords: Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Joseph Shabalala, South Africa, vocalist, Paul Simon, Graceland, Apartheid, Musicians in their own words, WUNC, David Schulman
Read the full transcript

Timing and Cues

SHORT MIX:
TAPE DURATION: 3:06
TAPE IN: "In Africa as a whole ..."
TAPE OUT: (ends with singing). Last spoken words: "...come to Ladysmith. It's beautiful."

FULL MIX:
TAPE DURATION: 5:17
TAPE IN: "In Africa as a whole ..."
TAPE OUT: (ends with singing). Last spoken words: "... the power of love."

Musical Works

All Excerpts performed by Joseph Shabalala and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Additional Files

Related Website

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