Ladysmith Black Mambazo a real DEAL!

 Founded in 1960 by the dexterous leader and founder ubaba Joseph Shabalala, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, whose rhythmic a cappella performances preserve the musical traditions of South Africa’s black mine workers, won the award for their live album Singing for Peace Around the World.

The Grammy was the fourth won by this male dominated group from KZN.

The choir dedicated the work to late anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela and promised to donate proceeds of the album purchased on the band’s website to the former president’s charity, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

“I’m not just happy but extremely happy, says founder Shabalala, who sadly indicated he will be resigning from performing due to age and health reasons.

Posed to him, who will take over the reins he said politely, ‘any of the group member’s can lead’.

“We’ve been together for ages. They’re capable to carry this torch forward.”

 Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a family group and they’ll follow the family’s culture in the absence of their father and founder.

 The choir was thrust before a global audience in 1986 when it collaborated on Paul Simon’s groundbreaking Grammy-winning album Graceland and joined the US songwriter’s ensuing tour.

In thanking the group before their send off tour to US, Mayor of eThekweni James Nxumalo said:” Ladysmith Black Mambazo are now South Africa’s ambassadors because wherever they go they carry the country’s flag and spread the word about how beautiful our country is and this can have a good impact on our recently launched visitors strategy to lure more tourist to the City.”

He also thanked the group for managing to inspire many people around the world to enjoy and appreciate South Africa’s rich cultural music and mentioned that this type of music would have not been in this level without Ladysmith Black Mambazo, says the Mayor.

Ubaba Shabalala thanked the Mayor for the recognition and said: “Our music is a symbol of South African history therefore it is very heartening to learn that even high profile people don’t forget their roots but still recognises and enjoy our music.”

He said they are now selecting the talented youth and training them so that they will carry on with the legacy of Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

The ruling party ANC also sent their congratulatory messages.   

The group has now become a mobile academy, teaching people about South Africa and its culture.

Fortunately, I was amongst few of journos to have met the group during one of media familiarization trips five years’ ago courtesy of the KZN tourism agency.

What a bunch of courteous, jovial gentlemen who along brought their wives. 

While in the United States, Ladysmith Black Mambazo will tour New Orleans, New York and Washington and other cities for three months.

Halala, we’re proud of you LBM!




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