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The Power of Positive Thinking

music Ladysmith1Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s Albert Mazibuko opens up

More than 40 years ago, Joseph Shabalala had a series of dreams that manifested in the path and sound of his choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Incredibly, Shabalala’s vision of a 10- to 30-member a cappella group that tours the globe singing dreamy harmonies and uniting people of all ages and backgrounds came to fruition. Now, Ladysmith is internationally recognized as the world’s foremost ambassadors of South African music, and along for the entire ride has been Albert Mazibuko.

Since the group’s inception in 1960, Mazibuko has been a core member. It took 20 years of playing before Ladysmith’s first album went gold, and 30 years before Paul Simon helped make the band a household name with Graceland. More amazing than the incredible obstacles the band has overcome or its mind-blowing musical offering, is how mellow Mazibuko is.

From a La Quinta hotel room deep in the heart of Texas, Mazibuko takes a break from reading “The Power of Positive Thinking” to explain how he keeps sane on the road eight months out of the year. “We are always on tour and it keeps us young to be playing music for people and making them happy—which makes us happy,” he says. “It’s true that we spend a lot of time in motels, but when I am alone I have my own time. I am a person that likes to read and when I am alone it is so nice. When I’m on tour it’s truly a wonderful time.”

Ladysmith Black Mambazo was Grammy nominated for its latest release, Songs from a Zulu Farm. Due to touring conflicts, Ladysmith has not been to the ceremonies since 1988, but according to Mazibuko, “We are over the moon that Zulu Farm has been nominated—it’s a very special album of roots music—the music we heard when we were young. These are the songs we used to sing as children in South Africa.” The power of the songs resonates with Mazibuko. “When I play these songs on stage it brings back memories and puts a big smile on my face. I think, ‘Wow,’ to be able to sing the songs I sang as a child to other children. Can this really be happening?”

music Ladysmith2Adding to the stew of South African children’s songs is the old American standby “Old McDonald,” that the band adopted and redid in Zulu. “We were in the studio and about to finish recording Zulu Farm and we asked our friend, ‘Is there any famous American song about farms?’ Fortunately, our grandsons were there and they said they used to sing ‘Old McDonald’ in school. They showed us how it was sung and we invited them into the studio. We brought in more microphones, and the recording studio was packed. We decided to combine the Zulu and the English and it turned out beautiful. People like to sing along to that one.”

From extensive touring to the double CD the group just released, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Friends, featuring duets with Dolly Parton and Taj Mahal, Mazibuko greets every moment with a spirit of reverence. “We don’t start praying at the show, we start when we are home before we start the tour. It’s important that we have the time to all pray together and to go to the mountain where we stay for the whole day, fasting and praying. Before we go onstage every evening we pray together with a special prayer that lets us know we can do the anointing and bless ourselves and bless the audience.” Photo: ShaneDoyle

Ladysmith Black Mambazo performs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, at The Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $30. For advance tickets, visit kuumbwajazz.org, or call 427-2227.

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We are in the time and under the influence of Sagittarius, sign of the wanderer, good food, good music, and the joy (Jupiter as ruler) that occurs from giving to others while simultaneously giving thanks from our hearts. Having the Thanksgiving holiday during the month of Sag is not a mistake. No other sign understands joy (an aspect of the Soul) as Sag (except Pisces when not in despair). “Sag is a beam of directed and focused light. The beam reveals a greater light ahead, illuminating the Way to the center of the Light,” emitting the Ray of Joyfulness. Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude; in the form of prayers, thoughts, feelings, wishes, hopes and greetings. Gratitude is something we still need to learn. Gratitude creates goodwill. Together, gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution” for humanity and our world’s problems. Gratitude and goodwill are the prerequisites for the reappearance of the Christ, the Aquarian World Teacher. In Ancient Wisdom texts it is written, “being grateful is the hallmark of one who is enlightened.” Gratitude comes from the Soul—the characteristics of which are love and wisdom (Ray 2). Gratitude is scientifically and occultly (mental, not emotional) a releasing agent. Gratitude liberates us and everything around us. Also a service to others, gratitude is deeply scientific in nature, releasing us from the past and laying open our future path leading to the new culture and civilization, the new laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarian, the Age of Friendship and Equality. The Hierarchy lays much emphasis upon gratitude. Let us be grateful this year and this season together. And so now the days of light illuminating the darkness begin (December’s festivals and feast days). Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am grateful for all of you, my readers.

 

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