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First broadcast in 1994, Tent Show Radio is a weekly one-hour radio program showcasing the best live recordings from acclaimed music acts and entertainers who grace the Big Top Chautauqua stage each summer in beautiful Bayfield, WI. In the program's nearly 30 year history it has featured artists like Johnny Cash, B.B King, Brandi Carlile, Willie Nelson, Don McLean, and many more. Hosted by celebrated New York Times best-selling author Michael Perry-who weaves stories and humor throughout each episode - Tent Show Radio features performances from renowned national & regional artists, with regular appearances featuring Big Top’s own unique brand of shows that feature songs and stories performed by its acclaimed house band, The Blue Canvas Orchestra.


Tent Show Radio is independently produced by Big Top Chautauqua, a non-profit performing arts organization, with a mission to present performances and events that celebrate history and the environment - along with their annual summer concert series - nestled in the woods on the shores of Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands.

Apr 10, 2024

On this episode of Tent Show Radio, enjoy a thrilling hour of music from South Africa’s Five Time Grammy Award winning singing group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Called South Africa’s Cultural Ambassadors to the World by Nelson Mandela, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, was founded in the early 1960s by Joseph Shabalala, then a teenage Zulu farm boy living on the lands just outside the small town of Ladysmith. In 1970, a radio broadcast of one of their concerts opened the door to their first record contract. Singing a traditional style called isicathamiya (is-cot-a-ME-Ya), developed in the mines of South Africa, they collaborated with Paul Simon, incorporating their rich harmonies into the Graceland album (1986) – a landmark recording considered seminal in introducing World Music to mainstream audiences.

The group would go on to record with Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Sarah McLachlan, Josh Groban, Emmylou Harris and many others. They provided music for many movies, have appeared on Broadway and were even the subjects of a documentary film, On Tip Toe: The Story of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, which was nominated for an Academy Award. Their historic recording career includes over seventy albums, earning nineteen Grammy Award nominations and five Grammy Award wins, more than any other World Music group. They earned Grammys for their albums: Shaka Zulu (1988), Raise Your Spirit Higher (2004), Ilembe (2009), Singing For Peace Around the World (2013) and most recently Shaka Zulu Revisited: 30 Year Anniversary Celebration (2017).



Michael Perry - Host
Phillip Anich - Announcer
Gina Nagro - Marketing Support




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