Lacklustre

Ladysmith Black Mambazo seem to be stuck in a rut. From my review of their Bath Festival concert:

There’s no question that Ladysmith Black Mambazo are a force for good; they are, after all, the singers who provided the soundtrack for the birth of Nelson Mandela’s rainbow nation. But Mandela is no longer with us, and the group’s founder, Joseph Shabalala, has retired, although several of his sons help to carry on his legacy. There were still flashes of inspiration in this concert – over the years LBM have crafted an absolutely distinctive a cappella sound, masculine yet surprisingly tender. At its best, the music growls and rumbles like a distant train rolling across the veld.

Still, if anyone thought their much-praised participation in the contemporary dance production, Inala, four years ago might have prompted a rethink about presentation, they would have been disappointed. There’s something to be said for a homespun approach that eschews slickness and lorryloads of lights left over from the Eurovision Song Contest, but the ponderous pacing, the hokey comedy routines and the repetitive displays of high kicking soon grew wearying.

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