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"The Voice of South Africa" Comes to Rogers Park

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 9, 2011 7:40PM

2011_2_9_mahlasela.jpg Vusi Mahlasela's message of freedom for all and reconciliation with one's enemies served as an inspiration for scores of members of South Africa's anti-apartheid movement. It proved to be such a permeating influence that Mahlasela earned the nickname "The Voice of South Africa." We dare say there may not be an angry bone in Mahlasela's body.

Mahlasela's influence runs deep, to artists as diverse as Peter Gabriel and Dave Matthews. His song "When You Come Back" was one of the featured themes of last year's World Cup, exposing Mahlasela to a wide global audience. Locally, Mahlasela has a strong following among fans of African folk music, thanks in part to frequent performances at the Old Town School of Folk, the former HotHouse and World Music Festival. Mahlasela's Valentine's Day performance at Mayne Stage in Rogers Park comes on the heels of the release of his latest album, Say Africa. Live, Mahlasela is a charismatic performer, capable of blowing up a venue with his band or reducing the depths of a room to the intimacy of an informal campfire performance with just his guitar.

Vusi Mahlasela performs at Mayne Stage in an 18-and-over show at Mayne Stage (1328 W. Morse Ave.) at 8 p.m., Feb. 14. Doors open at 7 p.m. Advance tickets ($15) are available here. Admission is $20 at the door.