Ladysmith Black Mambazo: On Tip Toe Directed by Eric Simonson, 2000
Intimate...compelling...leaves audiences wanting more Mambazo. - Variety
A joyously moving tribute to the World Music supergroup Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Academy Award® nominee ON TIP TOE is as uplifting and ultimately inspiring as their culture-bridging performances themselves.
Warmly directed by Eric Simonson and spanning three continents ON TIP TOE follows the captivating story of South African musician Joseph Shabalala and his unique singing ensemble. Best known on these shores for their innovative support on Paul Simon’s Grammy®-winning album Graceland, Mambazo has crafted an extraordinary hybrid of traditional Zulu harmonies and unconventional Western influences, including gospel, ragtime, Doo Wop, and even rock ‘n roll. Made up of seven bass voices, a tenor, a male alto, and Shabalala as lead vocalist, Mambazo amazingly incorporates the light, syncopated stomping of “isicathamiya” (Is-Cot-A-Me-Ya, meaning “on tip toe”), a style born through the strains of apartheid.
Strikingly photographed and smartly edited, ON TIP TOE traces the fascinating origins of Shabalala’s tuneful creations, featuring interviews with Paul Simon and extensive live footage of Mambazo’s exhibitions, including their sold-out Royal Albert Hall concert.