College of Music

University of Colorado Boulder

CU World Vocal Ensemble to open for world-famous Ladysmith Black Mambazo March 9

March 6, 2014

CU World Music Ensemble to open for Ladysmith Black Mambazo March 9, 2014

Assistant Professor Austin Okigbo and the World Music Ensemble. 

The World Vocal Ensemble, featuring CU-Boulder from the College of Music and elsewhere, will open for the world-famous choral ensemble Ladysmith Black Mambazo on March 9 at the Boulder Theater.

The storied all-male South African group performs Zulu music in the tradition of “isicathamiya.” Joseph Shabalala founded Ladysmith Black Mambazo in 1964 after hearing isicathamiya harmonies in a dream. 

The group has recorded more than 30 albums, including a collaboration with Paul Simon on his platinum-selling 1986 recording, “Graceland.” Their most recent album, “Songs from a Zulu Farm,” earned the ensemble a fourth Grammy Award in the World Music category.

The ensemble of CU students will open the all-ages show, which is scheduled to start at 8 p.m.

“This is a rare opportunity for our students,” says Austin Okigbo, assistant professor of ethnomusicology at CU-Boulder, who founded and directs the World Vocal Ensemble. 

The student ensemble, open to all CU-Boulder students regardless of major, is the newest world-music ensemble at the College of Music, joining the West African Highlife, Japanese Traditional Music, Mexican Mariachi, and Balinese Gamelan ensembles. 

“These ensembles are particularly beneficial to music students who wish to expand their musical repertoire to include vocal traditions of the non-Western canon,” Okigbo says. 

Austin Okigbo trained as a choral conductor and music educator at Westminster Choir College and received his doctorate in ethnomusicology from Indiana University. He has conducted other world-music vocal ensembles at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and Williams College, including for international tours. Okigbo studies music in global health and has worked with choirs in South Africa and Nigeria.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo

With special guest, CU-Boulder's World Vocal Ensemble

When: 8 p.m. Sunday, March 9

Where: Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St., Boulder

Tickets and info: bouldertheater.com 

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