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April 6, 2004

REVIEW

Home Theatre Magazine

Long before Ladysmith Black Mambazo became the voice of Lifesavers, 7-Up, and Sesame Street, it was the spiritual voice of a nation. For more than 30 years, the group has performed the traditional a cappella music of South Africa called isicathamiya, extracted from Zulu and Christian gospel music. The first U.S. release of new material since 1997 from Joseph Shabalala's 10-member choir, Raise Your Spirit Higher [Wenyukela] marks the 10-year anniversary of apartheid's end in South Africa.

The album's heavy emotional agenda inspires a message of hope, prayer, and peace. When the group sings in its native language on this hybrid disc's 5.1 high-resolution mix, the results are mesmerizing. After listening to "Wangibambezela (Message from His Heart)," my preference for a mid-hall seat in the surround mix went out the window. Martin Walters' mix puts you in the middle of the group; sudden whistling emerges from the left rear channel, a huff from the right, then a series of grunts and trills shoot back and forth as Shabalala's voice remains grounded in the center channel. More

Posted by acapnews at April 6, 2004 8:00 AM

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