Ladysmith Black Mambazo
South African Vocals
For over forty years, LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO has married the intricate rhythms and harmonies of South African musical traditions to the sounds and sentiments of Christian gospel music. The group is most well known for singing with Paul Simon on his album Graceland, but have since gone on to win three Grammy Awards, gold and platinum honors on their records, and a multitude of additional awards and accolades.
Joseph Shabalala assembled the group in the early 1960′s, and they quickly gained traction as one of the top local ensembles. They started performing for weddings and other local traditional events, and eventually began competing in competitions. They were later banned from competitions, although they were welcomed to participate as entertainers.
A radio broadcast in 1970 opened the door to their recording contract, and since then they have gone on to make more than 50 recordings. In the mid 1980′s, Paul Simon visited South Africa and incorporated the group’s harmonies into his album, Graceland. One year later, Simon produced the group’s first US release, Shaka Zulu.
Over the years, Ladysmith Black Mambazo has worked with Stevie Wonder, Josh Groban, Dolly Parton, Ben Harper, Natalie Merchant, and many more. The group shows no signs of stopping or slowing down any time soon with their latest release Songs From A Zulu Farm. The album is a collection of old farm songs, and it is particularly significant for the older members of the group. Joseph Shabalala says, “We are teachers. We travel the world spreading our message of Peace, Love and Harmony. What could be better or more important than that.”