Founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Joseph Shabalala has passed away at the age of 78 following an illness.
Shabalala died on February 11 in an unnamed hospital in Pretoria. He has been with the musical group for over 50 years before retirement and has written over 400 songs and recorded 40 albums.
The albums include Phansi Emgodini, Induku Zethu, Lihl’Ixhiba Likagogo, Ezinkulu, Indlela yase Zulwini, Isitimela, Ibhayibheli Liyindlela, Ulwandle Oluncgwele, Ukusindiswa, Phezulu Emafini, Ilembe, Thuthukani Ngoxolo, Zibuyinhlazane, Isigqi Sendoda, Umama Lo!, Thandanani, Heavenly, Inkazimulo, Imbongi, Shintsha Sithothobala, Amaqhawe, My Dream, Ushaka, Umthombo Wamanzi, Always With Us, No Boundaries, Two Worlds One Heart, Gift Of Tortoise, Raise Your Spirit Higher. Songs From A Zulu Farm, Journey Of Dreams, Inala, Wenyukela, Walking In The Footsteps Of Our Fathers, Ukukhanya Kwelanga, Songs Of Peace & Love For Kids And Parents Around The World, Intokozo, Amabuthu, Long Walk To Freedom, and Shaka Zulu.
To celebrate this fallen icon, we take a look at some of the most memorable moments he’s had with Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
First South African group to win multiple Grammys
When international songwriter and singer Paul Simon visited South Africa in the mid 1980s, he was intrigued by the sound of Ladysmith Black Mambazo and incorporated the group’s rich tenor/alto/bass harmonies into his famous “Graceland”album.
Simon then produced Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s first worldwide release, “Shaka Zulu”, which won them their first Grammy Award for Best Folk Recording back in 1988. Since then, the group has been awarded four more Grammy Awards and has a total of 19 Grammy Award nominations, beating any other World Music group in the history of the Awards.
“Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes”
In 2007, the five-times Grammy award-winning group performed live in Washington, D.C with Alison Krauss, Stevie Wonder, Lyle Lovett, Marc Anthony and Art Garfunkel to honour Paul Simon as the first recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
Proclaimed as South Africa’s Cultural Ambassadors to the World by Nelson Mandela
When the late former president Nelson Mandela was invited to Oslo, Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, he took the group with him and introduced them as the South Africa’s Cultural Ambassadors. A year later, the same group sang at the inauguration of the newly elected president.