Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Joseph Shabalala

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Ladysmith Black Mambazo with its leader Joseph Shabalala at the center (Source: US.Napster.com)

A few years ago, I had the privilege to attend a concert offered by Ladysmith Black Mambazo. To say that I am a fan is an understatement… I have always danced to the tunes of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. It was special in so many ways because I saw the entire group including their leader Joseph Shabalala, I heard their harmony which had been part of my life, and I also danced to some South African music (extra, extra bonus)… For those who are not familiar with the group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo is an a capella group of male vocalists founded in the early 1960s by Joseph Shabalala in South Africa. The group fuses indigenous Zulu songs and dances with South African isicathamiya, an a capella tradition that is frequently accompanied by a soft, shuffling style of dance. The name of the group can be broken down as: Ladysmith for the city where they grew up in KwaZulu-NatalSouth Africa; Black for the black oxen who is the strongest animal on the farm; and Mambazo which is Zulu for an axe which represents the ability for the group to cut down competition.

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Poster of the movie Michael Jackson Moonwalker (Wikipedia)

They were introduced to the global stage by Paul Simon with their collaboration on his 1986 Graceland album. They are seen dancing and singing in the last scene of Michael Jackson‘s movie ‘Moonwalker,’ where their entrancing song goes as, “Come and see. The moon is dancing.”  Not to be in awe of their amazing songs, the harmony, their voices, is truly not possible.

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Ladysmith Black Mambazo in a move (Source: Timeslive.co.za)

It is with great sadness that I heard of the passing of the founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Joseph Shabalala. I am just so glad that his legacy, the Ladysmith Black Mambazo, leaves on, and that his voice will still serenade countless people around the globe. Long Live Joseph Shabalala’s legacy! Long Live Ladysmith Black Mambazo!

“Je Serai Avec Toi” de Michael Dei Anang / ” I’ll be with Thee” by Michael Dei Anang

A box of Valentine's day chocolate
A box of Valentine’s day chocolate

Michael Jackson once asked in his great song “Will You Be There?” Well, Ghanaian author Michael Dei Anang replied by his poem: ” I’ll be with thee.”  The poem is truly about deep and everlasting love, the one that will always be there shine or freeze, no matter what happens in life.  So, whether you are in a relationship or not, whether you are thinking about love the Valentine’s way, or just looking for a friendship, think of this poem as what you should aspire to be for that other person: always there!  Enjoy!  Since I could not find the original English version, I translated it to English to share with all (French version from Anthologie Négro-Africaine by L. Kesteloot, P. 264, Edicef 1987; English translation by Dr. Y. Afrolegends.com).

Je serai avec toi

Quand les étoiles scintillent dans le ciel,

Et que la lune baigne la Mer

Du flux d’argent de sa lumière

Je serai avec toi

Je serai avec toi

Qu’il fasse jour ou nuit;

Que les cieux

Soient déchirés en deux

Et que les larmes embrument nos yeux

Je serai avec toi

Quand les orages

soulèvent les vagues

Et ploient le seuil jusqu’au sol

Je serai avec toi

Dans la fournaise ou dans la tornade

Je serai avec toi

Qu’il fasse clair ou sombre,

Le jour ou la nuit,

Quand s’appesantit l’angoisse

Que tu sois loin,

Ou que tu sois près ,

je serai avec toi.

Quoique nous soyons séparés

Pour des jours,

Ou que nous allions

Ne laisses pas les peines de la vie

Mordre ton cœur.

Je serai avec toi.

A travers la gloire ou la calomnie

Je serai avec toi

Lorsque le dernier souffle de vie

S’échappera de mon corps, vieille carcasse

Condamnée à pourrir après un mortel combat;

Quand nous aurons fini notre temps

Et traversé la rivière de la vie

Laissant derrière nous notre or et notre argent

Parents, amis et regrets,

Pour rejoindre le souterrain bercail

Je t’attendrai encore

Je serai avec toi.

I’ll Be With Thee

When the stars twinkle in the sky,

And the moon bathes the Sea

The flow of money from its light

I’ll be with thee

I’ll be with thee

Day or night;

Whether the skies

are torn in two

And tears fog our eyes

I’ll be with thee

When storms

Raise waves

And bend and break up the soil

I’ll be with thee

In the furnace or in the tornado

I’ll be with thee

Whether light or dark

Day or night

When dwells anxiety

Whether you are far,

Or whether you are near,

I’ll be with thee.

Though we are apart

For days,

Wherever we go

Do not let life’s troubles

Bite your heart.

I’ll be with thee.

Through glory or slander

I’ll be with thee

When the last breath of life

Will escape my body, old carcass

Condemned to rot after a deadly combat;

When we will have ended our times

And crossed the river of life

Leaving behind us our gold and our silver

Parents, friends, and regrets,

To join the underground fold

I’ll wait again for you

I’ll be with thee.