African A Capella Singing

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'A capella' - 'In the style of chapel'

A capella is singing without accompaniment.

A lot of religious music was sung unaccompanied

In the Renaissance period Catholic mass would often be sung unaccompanied. A lot of Jewish and Islamic music is also traditionally sung without accompaniment.

Gradually, the term a capella came to just mean 'without accompaniment', whether it was performed in the chapel or not.

Some all-male groups sing in a capella, like barbershop quartets.

South African all-male choirs sing a capella. Their music has been made famous by the group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Mbube and Isicathamiya are types of African singing.


1. 'Mbube' is a Zulu word meaning 'lion'.

2. It is a type of South African a capella singing.

3. Mbube music is loud and powerful.

4.It is usually sung by all-male choirs, though some


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