5-time Grammy award winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo have just celebrated an incredible 60 years in the music industry, and since 1970 have been performing locally and abroad to much acclaim.
Started in the early 1960s by Joseph Shabalala, who chose to name the group after his hometown of Ladysmith, with Black referring to the oxen that Joseph raised on the farm in his youth and Mambazo, the Zulu word for axe – which has indeed served as a great symbol for the groups vocal strength, and their eventual success in the music industry.
Collectively the group has seen a number of members progressing through its ranks over the years and have released over sixty albums. After over 50 years of leading the group Joseph finally retired in 2014 – however he has passed on the torch to his three sons, who joined them in 1993.
Their music has always been as much about the preservation of musical heritage as it is about entertainment, and their songs echo a traditional music form called isicathamiya (is-cot-a-ME-Ya), which developed in the mines of South Africa.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo has recorded with a number of artists from around the world, including Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Josh Groban, Melissa Etheridge and many others, as well as creating soundtracks for Disney’s The Lion King, James Earl Jones’ Cry The Beloved Country and Clint Eastwood’s Invictus, among others.
The group have appeared on Broadway, have been nominated for several Tony Awards and have won a Drama Desk Award, and are currently touring in America, as part of their global tours, which sees them performing for presidents, prime ministers and heads of state regularly.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo sing of peace, and of love and share a wish for people to live in harmony. They do so on every album and from every concert stage that they appear on.
Visit their website here…