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July 6, 2004

Portland Maine Press Herald

In an age of global culture and awareness, it's fitting that a group of performers from South Africa would come to America to help celebrate this country's independence. Considering the oppression under which South Africa existed for so long, it's also nothing short of remarkable. On a near-perfect Saturday night, the a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo helped L.L. Bean launch its sixth annual summer music series with a spiritual and uplifting open-air performance.

Organizers estimated between 5,000 and 6,000 people attended the free concert, the first of 13 performances in the Bean's series that continues through Labor Day weekend. As the group made its way from the back of the sea of people to the stage, fans began rising and cheering. The applause built in a steady crescendo. By the time Ladysmith finally picked its way through the crowd and to the stage, the audience was in full voice and ready for music.

Using their vocal chords as instruments, the group created a bed of rhythms and melodies while overlaying lyrics that spoke of spiritual, political and environmental sensitivity and awareness. They danced, clapped and created other rhythmic tricks to supplement their voices, but mostly they just sang richly layered songs.

Posted by acapnews at July 6, 2004 10:01 PM

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