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Why Lilian was first in queue for Ladysmith tickets

August 25th, 2017 5:45 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Lilian Murphy taking a ‘selfie' with members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, as well as Suzy, Grainne and Declan McCarthy, the festival organisers.

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THE first time Lilian Murphy met the South African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo she was at a concert in Harare in celebrating Zimbabwe's independence, so when she heard they were coming to West Cork – the place she has called home since 1996 – she was first in the queue to buy a ticket.

Speaking to the performers after their sell-out show in Abbeystrewry Church, as part of Skibbereen Arts Week, Lilian said: ‘They were very happy with the welcome they got in Skibbereen.' 

She recalled the Harare concert, which was at the height of the group's popularity and how they sang alongside Paul Simon, Miriam Makeba, and the late Ray Phiri.  

Lilian can also claim one more association with the group. She told The Southern Star: ‘My uncle in Zimbabwe, Oliver Mutukudzi, is a famous musician in Harare and when he goes to South Africa, he sings with them.'

The fact that Lilian's late grandmother, Maso, was from South Africa meant she was able to talk with the choir members in Zulu. And she laughingly confided: ‘I've invited them back to West Cork to sing at my 60th.'

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