What: Free Ladysmith Black Mambazo concert

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 3

Where: Discovery Park in Freeport, next to L.L. Bean’s main store

Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s new album celebrates freedom

FREEPORT – Ladysmith Black Mambazo will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 3, as part of the L.L. Bean Summer Concert Series.

The group’s new release “Raise Your Spirit Higher – Wenyukela” marks the 10-year anniversary of the end of apartheid. “Raise Your Spirit Higher – Wenyukela” is Black Mambazo’s message of hope and unity to a troubled world.

For more than 30 years, the musicians of Ladysmith Black Mambazo have married the intricate rhythms and harmonies of their native South African musical traditions to the sounds and sentiments of Christian gospel music.

The result is a musical and spiritual alchemy that has touched a worldwide audience representing every corner of the religious, cultural and ethnic landscape.

An interview on National Public Radio this year noted that this group gained worldwide fame when they sang with Paul Simon on his “Graceland” album. It also called the a capella group South Africa’s most famous singing group.

The group was assembled in the early 1960s in South Africa by Joseph Shabalala – then a young farm boy turned factory worker.

The group took is name from Ladysmith, the name of Shabalala’s rural hometown; black a reference to oxen, the strongest farm animals; and mambazo, the Zulu word for axe, a symbol of the group’s ability to chop down any singing rival who might challenge them.

This concert is part of a 2004 world tour that also will take them to London, New York and Montreal, as well as Holland, Germany and Sweden.

All the concerts in this series are free. They’re held in the company’s Discovery Park, next to its main store.

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