Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Umthombo Wamanzi

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The fourth release from the South African supergroup on Shanachie, this album has much of the a cappella work that listeners have become used to when looking for a Ladysmith Black Mambazo album. The songs are entirely devotional Christian hymns to Jesus, breaking away a bit from the usual mix, but not terribly so. As is always the case with Ladysmith albums, the highlight is the vocal harmony work that goes into it. This is the premier group for Zulu singing styles and on each album they show off why they're the premiers. Shabalala and his bandmates provide a stunning look at some relatively simple lyrical works that are ornamented through their harmonic work to become a cappella masterpieces. Some Ladysmith albums are more energetic than this one, but whether a low energy level is a good or bad thing is a case left to the listener's aesthetics.

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