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South Africa’s Bala Brothers Releasing Self-Titled Album, Starring in PBS Special [Video]

Bala Brothers

The Bala Brothers — Loyiso, Zwai and Phelo Bala — are a household name in South Africa because of their fusion of operatically-trained voices, rich harmonies and traditional South African melodies and rhythms.

The Bala Brothers are releasing a self-titled album March 3, with DVD and Blu-Ray releases March 24 for a taped concert program airing as a PBS-TV special starting Feb. 28.

Overcoming apartheid, the trio rose out of poverty on the strength of their musical talent and broke the color barrier of the famed Drakensberg Boys’ Choir, becoming its first black members.

For their self-titled debut album on Warner Classics, The Bala Brothers’ inspiring program of music ranges from Elton John’s theme from “The Lion King” to Paul Simon and Billy Joel (with special guests The Drakensberg Boys’ Choir) in their hometown Johannesburg’s Lyric Theatre.

Their songs include the anthemic “Circle of Life,” from Elton John’s score for “The Lion King;” the Simon hit “Under African Skies,” from his “Graceland” album; their own Xhosa-language love song “Masibuyelane;” and the anti-apartheid anthem “(Something Inside) So Strong.”

The performance was made all the more powerful by the presence in the audience of Winnie Mandela, the spouse of late South African anti-apartheid crusader and president Nelson Mandela. They did a tribute concert for Mandela in December 2013 before 55,000 people in South Africa.

The Bala Brothers will tour the U.S. in May 2015.

‘The Bala Brothers’ Tracklisting

  1. “Circle of Life” (Elton John, Tim Rice)
  2. “Weeping” (Dan Heymann)
  3. “Going Home” (traditional, arrangement by Michael Whalen)
  4. “He Lives In You” (Lebohang Morake, Jay Rifkin, Mark Mancina)
  5. “Under African Skies” (Paul Simon)
  6. “Masibuyelane” (Loyiso and Zwai Bala)
  7. “Ndize” (Mavo Solomon, Zwai Bala)
  8. “Something Inside So Strong” (Labi Siffre
  9. “The Crossing” (Johnny Clegg)
  10. “Girl Without a Name” (Loyiso Bala)
  11. “And So It Goes” (Billy Joel)
  12. “Pata Pata” (Jerry Ragovoy, Miriam Makeba)
  13. .”Meguru” (traditional, arranged by Michael Whalen)

DVD extras: “You’ll Never Walk Along (Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II) and MARIA and “Maria” (Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim)

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