The demise of South African Apartheid stands as one of the most inspiring and hopeful events in modern human history. Along with the peaceful way its people, led by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and President Nelson Mandela, struggled with great honesty and integrity to come to terms with the country’s past, tempering justice with mercy for true reconciliation.
On Wenyukela (Raise Your Spirit Higher), Ladysmith Black Mambazo—the African ensemble that achieved notoriety with its appearance on Paul Simon’s Graceland—celebrates the 10th anniversary of South Africa’s watershed moment. And who better equipped to deliver this commemoration than Ladysmith, with its long history of joyous hope expressed through a combination of Zulu traditions and Christian gospel? You don’t need to speak the language to appreciate this album, as the music on Wenyukela is both ebullient and infectious. Despite a couple of misfires among the 13 tracks, it’s hard not to extend grace to this collection of otherwise winsome songs.