Natty Mark has also written articles for the Leys News monthly. This is a newspaper for Blackbird Leys, which is the largest council estate in Oxfordshire. As well as the ones featured here, another article can be read in the Natty Hi-Fi section.
Joy to Joseph Shambalala This is the original, unedited version
Leys News June 2011
Joy to Joseph Shambalala, as he approaches his 70thbirthday. For the joy he has given to the many thousands, over the last fifty years.
Last month, at the New Theatre, we were enraptured by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the choral group he founded in the early 60s in Zululand, South Africa.
These Masters of Accapella, favourites of Nelson Mandela, who have thrilled audiences worldwide, done the same at this Oxford venue.
Beautiful voices, interwoven with exquisite harmonies. Apart from Joseph's voice, the one that delighted me the most, was that of one of his four sons in the group; a voice for lullabies and healing.
Alongside these classic voices, the choreography. Traditional dances from the Zulu homestead. Voice and body in sweet symbiosis. Natural flow of sound and movement.
Masters of humour, as well as accapella. Their gifts of comedy as well as culture. I felt the jubilance amongst them, their intention to have fun amongst themselves, like comrades of comedy. I never expected them to be the source of so much laughter. For those of us fortunate to have gathered there, we got a triple blessing; through the comedic antics, as well as the voices and the dances.
Joseph Shambalala, the music you've made continues to send sensations through my body. Little shiverings of euphoria and awe. Songs from the farms and mines of South Africa. Your music has enhanced the music of other greats, such as Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon. Great Ambassador of African Art; Ladsmith Black Mambazo, your enduring embassy. From the dreams of a Zulu man, to a standing ovation in an Oxford theatre.
I wish you joy, Joseph Shambalala, on August 28th, when you celebrate your 70thbirthday.