Thursday, March 22, 2007

The other side of despair

Is hope.

After attending the rally to support the immigrant families impacted by the March 6th raids on a factory making military backpacks, I took the boys to an evening concert of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The little lady got a special night with a beloved babysitter while their dad was attending the drink-up for his rugby team.

In the mid-1980's Paul Simon had a huge hit with the CD Graceland. One of the songs was Diamonds on the Souls of Her Shoes which was co-written by Simon with the leader of Ladysmith, Joseph Shabalala. The group also sang the beautiful acapella song "Homeless".

Ladysmith began in the 1950's based on the music sung by South African black men who had to leave their families to work in mines. They were brutally treated and would have to practice their singing in secret. Even the stylized dance moves involved light footwork so the company wardens wouldn't hear. When the men came back to the townships for visits, there would be competitions between different singing groups. They sang in English and Zulu.

Obviously, South Africa shed the apartheid government and continues to build on its economic and political stability. What was particularly powerful about the concert was how the men talked about the history of the music, the pain and sorrow it initially conveyed but also the joys that could still be found. And how hope perseveres.

One of my boys keeps singing snippets from the song Ladysmith wrote for and performed at Nelson Mandela's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. It talks about struggles, racism and that now all people can vote in their homeland.

I've reminded the boys that even in the sadness of the raids, there is still hope and even some joy. And that some day we'll be hearing beautiful music that inspires us.


9 comments:

Jodi said...

I just tagged you for a meme!

Ambassador said...

It's true...living through these recovery days in New Orleans has been a very personal lesson in despair and hope. I wish the rest of the world could see and hear about the good that's happening here. Unfortunately, despair sells better than hope...and that's more than a little sad.

Keep up the excellent work--you are finding a clear, strong voice...it's time for me to get blogging again.

Love, your Ambassador

Ambassador said...

I forgot...there's a whole lot of hope coming up in the form of music in the next two months--French Quarter Fest, followed by Jazz Fest...come on down, y'all!

It just doesn't get any better than this!

scribbit said...

Loved that Paul Simon album. Sounds like a great concert. How fun!

Anonymous said...

How did you like that concert? I assume that you caught it at Lisner...I am not a big fan of theirs, I got turned on to them after I heard a track of theirs on a compilation album.

Their show was the most fun concert
that I have seen so far this year. I did not get the feeling that they were as lighthearted as they turned out to be. My friend who had never heard of them was very quickly won over.

I would suggest that you see Angelique Kidjo in concert. (she will be at Lisner in May). Ladysmith stole the "most fun concert experience in 07" title from her. Her show in USVI was exciting.

soccer mom in denial said...

Hi Anon.,

I'm not sure where/what Lisner is. We saw them on the campus of a local university.

And Angelique Kidjo will be near us in May too. But our other big concert for the spring will be to see The Blind Boys of Alabama. I'll have to catch her another time.

Thanks for the comment/visit!

Anonymous said...

oops, I assumed that you were a DC local. I was blog hoping when i came across your blog.
The Lisner Auditorium is the name of the GW performing arts auditorium.

I will look into the Blind Boys - i have never heard of them..thanks.

on a second read of your reply, I think you are a DC local.

soccer mom in denial said...

Hey Anon.

Feel free to leave your email but alas, I'm not very DC at all. I'm in the land where all are free to marry. Or as Nixon once said, the only communist country he'd ever been to.

But I am very glad you hopped on over. Let me know if there are any blogs I should be visiting! I love a good journey.

Flower Child said...

Hey! Found your blog when I was checking out Jenn's pictures. I have a very lame blog on my terrible gardening skills. http://bloomidiot.blogspot.com/

LOVED the Hallelujah story! Thought of all of you this weekend when I danced to that tune at an 80's party.

Jessica