Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the Legendary male group from South Africa

The male-dominated choral group from South Africa, Ladysmith Black Mambazo have been nominated 16 times for the Grammy awards and won it 4 times. It is of  great surprise how this group of fascinating vocalist has over 4 decades been consistent and relevant, getting several recognitions and awards. Their strength must lie in their ability to use their music, a combination of traditional sounds and vocals, in connecting a diverse generation.

The South African group of artiste have been around for over 50 years, they have over the years preached the message of peace, love, and harmony through their music. They sing in their traditional style of music called Isicathamiya, a harmony-focused Zulu style of A-cappella and offshoot of Mbube.

The founder, director, composer, and lead singer Joseph Shabalala before his retirement in 2014, with his brothers, friends, and cousins made up the group which has had more than 30 different members at one point or another over the past years, and have recorded over 50 albums, these albums have also received Gold & Platinum Disc Certification at various times.

The group grew into national prominence in South Africa when they won most of all the competition they partook in, and began to organize their own special occasions and event, toured cities across South Africa, they soon became the most prolific recording artiste in the country.

Then came the International recognition, when Paul Simon, an American singer, and songwriter approached them for a collaboration on his ground breaking Graceland album in 1986. After this, they had become a known group around America, Europe, Germany, and Africa. They have also had several collaborations with international artiste including The Winans, George Clinton, Josh Groban, Sarah McLachlan, Lucky Dube, as well as Hugh Masekela. With featured musical performance in blockbuster movies like Michael Jackson’s ‘Moonwalker’ and ‘Coming to America’ starring Eddie Murphy.

The group has been attributed to having socio-cultural influence, as well as political influence. Declared South Africa’s cultural ambassadors by Nelson Mandela shortly after his release from prison. Ladysmith Black Mambazo accompanied Mandela to the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway, in 1993 where they gave a resounding performance. And later did an album dedicated to Mandela titled ‘Live: Singing for Peace around the World’, which later won Grammy awards for Best World Music CD in 2013.

On 17 October 2006, they had a sold out concert at New York’s famed Carnegie Hall in October 2006. In 2017, they released Songs of Peace & Love for Kids & Parents Around the World.  According to Joseph, the founder of the group in a statement addressing his retirement, ”LMB is a mission, a mission to spread our message and to keep our culture alive and known, South Africa is a most wonderful place, filled with beautiful people, we have wanted to keep South Africa alive in people’s hearts”. This, we must agree they are doing so well. Placing South Africa’s music on the world’s pedestal, popularizing its culture and beauty to their audience spread across the globe.

The group emerged winner at the AFRIMA 2015 for Legendary awards category,  a category dedicated to celebrating African music icons dead or living, whose music and legacy have made positive marks in the world music scene.

The group now has a foundation aimed at teaching young South African Zulu children about their traditional culture and music.

Sharing is caring!

No Comments

Leave a Comment

Translate »