COMPOSERS: Traditional African
LABELS: Heads Up
PERFORMER: Ladysmith Black Mambazo; ECO Strings
CATALOGUE NO: HUCD 3092
Devised for a festival appearance in South Africa, Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s latest venture features orchestral arrangements by Isak Roux and mixes its own repertoire with classical choral pieces. Alas, the low moment-to-moment tingle-factor of each track here does not add up to a match-winning performance.
While Roux handles things sensitively, keeping his textures light and supportive, the singers have turned restrained to a fault. There are plenty of touching moments, some of the best in an arrangement of the ‘Sanctus’ from Schubert’s German Mass; an effective crossover Dona nobis pacem by Roux himself, and only one total flop with Mozart’s Ave verum corpus where the wonderful chromatic harmonies at the end appear to be too hot to handle.
But by the end the effect is to prettify both African and European sources, and who needs that? Robert Maycock