Ladysmith Black Mambazo to celebrate their 56th anniversary in the music industry!

This time the stage will suffer, as one of the world’s celebrated Isicathamiya group Ladysmith Black Mambazo stomps relentlessly during their two day shows in Johannesburg.

It goes down at the Joburg Theatre on September 10 & 11, respectively, as part of celebrating the enormous and thick history of this well travelled and four times Grammy Award winners of over 56 years’ in the music industry.

Isicathamiya -derived from the Zulu word meaning “to walk or step on one’s toes lightly- has and will continue, to be the brand of the group, founded by the leader and father to some members ubaba Joseph Shabalala.

Ubaba Shabalala’s vision was to keep this rich musical tradition known as isicathamiya alive by combining it with what he heard in churches.  His brothers and cousins joined him and since then the acappella band has very much remained a family affair to this day, comprising of ubaba Shabalala’s friends and family members, including his sons and cousins, with an age span ranging from septuagenarians to those in their 20s.

The legendary ubaba Shabalala took a step back from limelight due to health reasons last year, and one must indicate his absence has been felt, albeit the appointment of another young and capable Thamsanqa Shabalala to lead the group has been warmly received by all and sundry.

LBM released their first album in 1973. They have since produced over 30 albums, including their highly successful collaboration on Paul Simon’s Graceland in 1986; an album that was one of the best-selling albums of the eighties globally.

They’ve also sold over 1 million albums in the UK alone of their Star and the Wiseman album with the much-loved Heinz commercial music ‘Inkanyezi Nezazi’ and nominated 16 times for Grammy Awards, taking home the honors on four occasions.

They have also won countless other awards across the globe.

Aptly coined ‘Night of Legends’ expect the reverberation of international hits like Homeless, Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, Nomathemba, Ofananaye, Lelilungelo, Phanse Emgodini and many others.

Three years ago (January 26) the group dedicated their latest Grammy Award to the late president and Son of the Soil Dr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, who was an ardent follower of LBM.

The group first met South Africa’s first black president at his birthday party in 1990.

Internationally, they’ve collaborated with icons such as the late pop star Michael “Wacko Jacko” Jackson, Steve Wonder and Dolly Parton. 

On the African Continent it has shared stages with the likes of Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, Salif Keita and locally PJ Powers “Thandeka”, The Soil, MiCasa, Zahara and many others.

Yes, one gets goosebumps and tummy butterflies whenever the word Ladysmith Black Mambazo is mentioned at hostels, taxi ranks, shebeens, Kings and Queens state of the art homes, etc…

Jealously so, these are our “Cultural Ambassadors”, as once mentioned by CNN’s Jessica Ellis.  Well wishers worldwide continue to send their messages of congratulations.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo, male choral group from South Africa, will perform March 8, 2013 at the Aladdin Theater in Portland. Photo By Shane Doyle.

The Saturday’s show begins from 7pm & Sunday from 3pm.

Tickets range from R155 to R255 on both days and are available at the venue.

Ed Note: Ladysmith Black Mambazo is part of the time-honored tradition of South African Zulu male choral music called isicathamiya (derived from the Zulu word meaning “to walk or step on one’s toes lightly”) 

The roots of isicathamiya goes back to the turn of the twentieth century when large groups of males left their homelands and families to find work and lived in all-male hostels in the cities and near the mines.  

These migrants didn’t form football teams or the like, but instead turned towards singing as a means to stay close to their roots.

The group is named after hometown, Ladysmith, a farming town in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains “black” refers to “oxen,” the strongest of all farm animals, and “Mambazo” -the Zulu word for “axe” – refers to “chopping down” the local competition.

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