Grammy® Award-winning, South African a cappella vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo returns to the State Theatre!
Celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2013, Ladysmith Black Mambazo—led by founder and leader Joseph Shabalala—has a musical style that combines the joyous and uplifting rhythms and harmonies of their native South African musical traditions with the sounds and sentiments of Christian gospel music. In the mid-1980s, Paul Simon visited South Africa and incorporated Black Mambazo’s rich tenor/alto/bass harmonies into his Graceland album—a landmark 1986 recording that was considered seminal in introducing world music to mainstream audiences. A year later, Simon produced Black Mambazo’s first U.S. release, Shaka Zulu, which won a Grammy® Award in 1988. Since then, the group has been awarded two more Grammy® Awards and has been nominated a total of 15 times including a nomination for their most recent CD release, Songs From A Zulu Farm.
Assembled in the early 1960s in South Africa, the group took the name Ladysmith Black Mambazo—Ladysmith being the name of founder Shabalala’s rural hometown; Black being a reference to oxen, the strongest of all farm animals; and Mambazo being the Zulu word for axe, a symbol of the group’s ability to “chop down” any singing rival who might challenge them.
A radio broadcast in 1970 opened the door to their first record contract—the beginning of an ambitious discography that includes more than 50 recordings. In addition to their work with Paul Simon, Ladysmith Black Mambazo has recorded with Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Sarah McLachlan, Josh Groban, Emmylou Harris, Melissa Etheridge, and many others.