Arizona Arts Live & Rialto Theatre Present...

Ladysmith Black Mambazo an evening with...

Sunday, August 7
Doors: 7:00pm / Show: 8:00pm

Price: $32-$45 + Taxes and Fees

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ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

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In 2014, Ladysmith Black Mambazo – led by founder and leader JOSEPH SHABALALA – celebrated over fifty years of joyous and uplifting music. Within this music are the intricate rhythms and harmonies of their native South African musical traditions. In those years, the a cappella vocal group has created a musical and spiritual spirit that has touched a worldwide audience. Their musical efforts over the past five decades have garnered praise and accolades from a wide body of people, organizations and countries.

Assembled in the early 1960s in South Africa by Joseph, then a young farmboy turned factory worker, the group took the name Ladysmith Black Mambazo: Ladysmith, the name of Joseph’s hometown, about three hours west of Durban and 3 hours east of Johannesburg; Black being a reference to the oxen, the strongest of all farm animals; and Mambazo being the Zulu word for chopping axe, a symbol of the group’s ability to “chop down” any singing rival who might challenge them. Their collective voices were so tight and their harmonies so polished that by the end of the 1960’s they were banned from competitions, although they were welcome to participate as entertainers.

A radio broadcast in 1970 opened the door to their first record contract – the beginning of an ambitious discography that currently includes more than fifty recordings. Their philosophy in the studio was – and continues to be – just as much about preservation of musical heritage as it is about entertainment. The group borrows heavily from a traditional music called isicathamiya (is-cot-a-ME-Ya), which developed in the mines of South Africa, where black workers were taken by rail to work far away from their homes and their families. Poorly housed and paid worse, the mine workers would entertain themselves after a six-day week by singing songs into the wee hours on Sunday morning. When the miners returned to the homelands, this musical tradition returned with them.

During the 1970’s and early 1980’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo established themselves as the most successful singing group in South Africa. In the mid-1980s, Paul Simon visited South Africa and incorporated the group’s rich tenor/alto/bass harmonies into his famous “Graceland” album – a landmark recording that was considered seminal in introducing world music to mainstream audiences. A year later, Paul Simon produced Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s first worldwide release, “Shaka Zulu”, which won a Grammy Award in 1988 for Best Folk Recording. Since then, the group has been awarded two more Grammy Awards (“Raise Your Spirit Higher (2004) and “Ilembe (2009)”) and has been nominated a total of fifteen times.

In addition to their work with Paul Simon, Ladysmith Black Mambazo has recorded with numerous artists from around the world, including Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Sarah McLachlan, Josh Groban, Emmylou Harris, Melissa Etheridge,and many others. Their film work includes a featured appearance in Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker video and Spike Lee’s Do It A Cappella. They’ve provided soundtrack material for Disney’s The Lion King, Part II as well as Eddie Murphy’s Coming To America, Marlon Brando’s A Dry White Season, Sean Connery’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, James Earl Jones’ Cry The Beloved Country and Clint Eaastwood’s Invictus. A film documentary titled On Tip Toe: Gentle Steps to Freedom, the story of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, was nominated for an Academy Award. They have appeared on Broadway and have been nominated for Tony Awards and have won a Drama Desk Award. In more recent popular culture they have been part of such shows as The Family Guy & the movie Mean Girls (“But you LOVE Ladysmith Black Mambazo”).

In 2013 the group released “Live: Singing For Peace Around The World” which is a collection of songs recorded during their World Tours of 2011 and 2012. On December 6, 2013 it was announced that this cd was nominated by the Grammy Awards as Best World Music CD for 2013. The winner of the Grammy Award will be announced January 26, 2014.

In 2014 the group released their newest cd, “Always With Us”, a tribute to the group’s matriarch, Nellie Shabalala, Joseph Shabalala’s wife who passed away in 2002. This collection of songs are recordings Nellie did with her church choir in 2001. Ladysmith Black Mambazo recorded their voices with Nellie’s songs in a beautiful tribute to her life and memory.

The Rialto Theatre Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the stewardship and preservation of the historic Rialto Theatre, a unique entertainment venue and cornerstone of downtown Tucson, offering a broad range of high-quality performing arts that are reflective of the diverse and vibrant community it serves.

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Clear Bag Policy

Rialto Theatre & 191 Toole Switch to a clear bag policy as of 3/1/22 – February 2022

To provide a safer environment for the public and significantly expedite fan entry into our venues, Rialto Theatre & 191 Toole will be instituting a clear bag policy on March 1st, 2022.

The policy limits the size and type of bags that may be brought into our venues. The following is a list of bags that will be accepted for entry:

  • Bags that are clear plastic or vinyl and do not exceed 12” x 6” x 12”
  • One-gallon clear plastic freezer bags (Ziploc bag or similar)
  • Small clutch bags, approximately 5” x 7”

*All bags subject to search.
**Clear bags are available for sale at the box office.

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Para ofrecer un entorno más seguro a los invitados y agilizar la entrada a nuestros edificios, el Rialto Theatre & 191 Toole comenzará a aplicar una norma sobre bolsas transparentes el 1 de marzo de 2022.


La norma limita el tamaño y el tipo de bolsas que pueden introducirse en nuestros edificios. La siguiente es una lista de bolsas que serán aceptadas para la entrada:

  • Bolsas de plástico transparente o de vinilo que no superen las 12″ x 6″ x 12″.
  • Bolsas de plástico transparente para congelar de un galón (bolsa Ziploc o similar)
  • Bolsas pequeñas tipo clutch, de aproximadamente 5″ x 7″.

*Todas las bolsas están sujetas a registro.
**Las bolsas transparentes están a la venta en la taquilla.