South Africa and Tibet

I really miss live music and I often wonder when concerts will return. And I wonder when I will feel safe enough to attend a concert. All I know for sure is that it will be a transcendent experience and there will be tears.

For now, I am grateful for the virtual concert experiences that cross my path. I’ve known of the a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo for years, and I finally saw them perform virtually a few weeks ago. The group of male South African singers was founded in 1960 by Joseph Shabalala and became an international phenom thanks to its work with Paul Simon on his Graceland album.

The group mainly sings in a local African indigenous style accompanied by fun choreographed dance moves. The founder’s sons take turns as soloists. I was surprised at my delight when they sang “This Little Light of Mine.” I hadn’t heard the song in years, and I have fond memories of singing it ad nauseam at Vacation Bible School when I was a kid.

The setting of the concert (South Africa) was beautiful, and it felt nice to be transported to another place and culture for a few hours.

I also recently watched a virtual benefit concert for Tibet House US, a nonprofit in New York City that ensures the survival of Tibetan culture and heritage. Curated by composer Philip Glass, the 34th annual concert had an amazing lineup, including Laurie Anderson, Flaming Lips, Patti Smith, Annie Lenox, and Eddie Vedder.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama also offered a message, thanking everyone for their support. It was so nice to see him speak. I feel blessed to have seen him speak live a few times. It was a special evening for a good cause, and I was glad to be a part of it.

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