South Africa

Yannick Ilunga, the South African musician who records under the name Petite Noir, was born to a Congolese father and an Angolan mother; as a young child, he was relocated to Cape Town by his parents when the situation in Democratic Republic of Congo deteriorated. But listen to "Freedom," from Ilunga's vigorous debut, La Vie Est Belle, and African music doesn't spring to mind.

President Jacob Zuma led Freedom Day celebrations in Pretoria Sunday, as South Africa marked the 20th anniversary of democratic rule. The nation held its first general elections in 1994, when voters sent Nelson Mandela to the presidency with a resounding win that helped the country distance itself from the scourge of apartheid.


AUDIE CORNISH, BYLINE: The South African all-male group Ladysmith Black Mambazo became world-famous after collaborating with Paul Simon on the Grammy-winning 1986 album "Graceland." Since their beginning in the '60s, the group has recorded more than 50 albums and won multiple awards. Their new release is a remembrance for one of their own, the late wife of the group's bandleader. It's called "Always With Us." Banning Eyre has this review.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Singing in foreign language)

For fans of world music, South Africa's Ladysmith Black Mambazo needs no introduction.

The group has been singing a capella together for 50 years, brought together by Joseph Shabalala, a young farmhand turned factory worker from the town of Ladysmith. He had a dream of tight vocal harmonies and messages of peace.

That dream developed, and the band came to the attention of Paul Simon, who had it record "Homeless" on his album Graceland. It introduced the group to the world.