Yesterday, all roads led to The Impala Sports ground, located along Ngong Road, where the annual Safaricom Classical Fusion was taking place. Encouraged by the beautiful weather, music lovers both young and old flocked to watch the multiple Grammy Award Winning music group Ladysmith Black Mambazo perform for the first time in Nairobi.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a South African a capella group founded 51 years ago by Joseph Shabalala, who is still the leader of the group. Their music style has been described as a fusion of traditional isicathamiya and mbube sounds, and Christian Gospel music.
Joseph 71, and the oldest member of the group gave a brief history of the group and was clearly very proud of his 3 sons who are part of the group, the youngest of whom is 26 years old. Their mission is to preserve the South African culture, and pass it on through generations, something which I must say they’ve done very well. I first heard Ladysmith Black Mambazo play in my father’s radio cassette player in the 80s and it was fascinating to see them perform familiar oldies such as Homeless.
More fascinating than the music was the flexibility exhibited by even the older members of the group. When the MC invited a member of the audience to mimick the move, none of the clearly youthful audience members dared to volunteer.
There’s no shortage of world class entertainment in Nairobi.