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Ladysmith Black Mambazo
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Vocalists
    (1964- )
    Formed in Ladysmith, South Africa
    Sing in the ‘Isicathamiya’ (traditional Zulu) style
    Director/lead singer is Joseph Shabalala
    Albums include ‘Induku Kethu (1984),’ ‘Shaka Zulu (1987),’ ‘How the Leopard Got His Spots (1991),’ ‘Heavenly (1997),’ ‘Live at the Royal Albert Hall (1999)’ and ‘No Boundaries (2005)’
    Performed with Paul Simon on his ‘Graceland’ album (1986)
    Director Joseph Shabalala claims God literally tells him what kind of music to write.
    Their music can sound strange to western ears.
    They imitate the noises of animals, thunder and other natural sounds.
    They’ve sung in ads for soup, soda and candy.
    Some people assume the ‘black’ in their name refers to race, but it really comes from a strong type of black oxen.
    Their trademark is rayon shirts in loud patterns.
    They combine a traditional Zulu folk style with gospel music from the New World.
    They are one of the most popular African folk ensembles among westerners.
    They shot to fame in the U.S. and Europe after appearing on the Paul Simon album ‘Graceland.’
    They performed in a Spike Lee documentary on a capella music.
    They perform in a lot of benefits to help fight poverty in South Africa.
    Many of the group members come from director Joseph Shabalala’s own family.
    Two members, both brothers of Shabalala, were shot and killed in separate mysterious incidents.
    Shabalala’s wife was murdered, possibly by his own son.
    They’ve performed with Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson and many other big-name artists.

Credit: Wieland Kalligaro


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