vintage song obsession – ladysmith black mambazo “how long?” (spring 2006)

kids playing soccer in Zululand, not too far from Ladysmith

Coming out of my adult education Spanish class with little more knowledge of the language than when I entered, I walked through the chilly air to my car, got in and sat down. I just stared ahead for a few minutes, keys still in my hand. It had been a long day. When I finally started the car I heard the unmistakable voices of Ladysmith Black Mambazo (wikipedia), but I didn’t know this song. And it was great. Light, almost playful but beautiful and yearning. I knew it was the world show hosted by Decca, so I looked up her playlist when I got home and bought the song from iTunes that night–one of the few times I’ve bought a song from iTunes.

With beautiful sonorities, the rich, slow voices in isicathamiya style set the stage, but it’s the middle section, with the doo-wop like playful falling bassline that I really love.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo – How Long (mp3)

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You can buy Long Walk to Freedom from which this recording game from or Shaka Zulu which has the original, a more succinct and faster version of the song. The group still tours, though you recently missed their Bay Area performances. They’re headed to Asia next and then to Australia and the UK after that.

One response to “vintage song obsession – ladysmith black mambazo “how long?” (spring 2006)”

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