Internationally renowned band comes to P.A.

They've performed for the inauguration of former South African president Nelson Mandela and won two Grammy Awards, but the eight members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo soon will be performing on the peninsula.

The South African a cappella group was introduced to Americans in Paul Simon's 1986 album "Graceland," where he incorporated the group's sounds after meeting them on a visit to the African country.

According to the group's Web site, they created their unusual name after winning every singing competition they entered - Ladysmith is the hometown of some group members, Black refers to black oxen, which South Africans consider to be the strongest animal on the farm, and Mambazo is a reference to an ax, which symbolizes the group's ability to chop down the competition. The group dominated the singing contest scene so completely that eventually it was forbidden from entering and instead was showcased as an exhibition group.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo, which according to its Web site "represents the traditional culture of South Africa and is regarded as the country's cultural emissary at home and around the world," is kicking off the Juan de Fuca Festival's 16th anniversary concert series.

According to festival marketing assistant Carol Pope, tickets already are selling fast for the Oct. 11 concert, which will take place in the Port Angeles High School auditorium. Tickets can be purchased online at, by calling 457-5411 or at Port Book and News in Port Angeles or Pacific Mist Books in Sequim. For more information, visit

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