Ladysmith Black Mambazo Continues To Thrill Audiences

By: Dr. Mary

Ft. LAUDERDALE – Ladysmith Black Mambazo still has it going on. With over 50 years of singing and dancing they are very much as exciting, energetic, and animated as when they first started.

For those who don’t know who Ladysmith Black Mambazo are, they are a male singing group which began in early 1960s in South Africa which is led by founder and leader Joseph Shabalala.

Their music is acapella with “the intricate rhythms and harmonies of their native South African musical traditions.”

“Ladysmith is the name of Joseph’s hometown, about three hours west of Durban and 3 hours east of Johannesburg; Black, being a reference to the oxen, the strongest of all farm animals; and Mambazo being the Zulu word for chopping axe, a symbol of the group’s ability to “chop down” any singing rival who might challenge them.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s collective voices were so tight and their harmonies so polished that by the end of the 1960’s they were banned from competitions, although they were welcome to participate as entertainers.” (their official website)

This group has had many successes, to name a few, they may be most known in America due to their work with Paul Simon, the song “If you’ll be my bodyguard” was a big hit.

They have recorded with artists including, Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, and many others.

They have done several films which included a featured appearance in Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker video and Spike Lee’s Do It acapella.

While Joseph himself was not here on February 22nd at Parker Playhouse in Ft. Lauderdale his three sons with other members of their group were wonderful.  Their delightful dance formation is enchanting.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo

In 2016 they were nominated for the 17th Grammy for Best World Music Album for their Album Walking in the Footsteps of Our Fathers.

I’m sure they could not have fathomed this success when they first started coming out of South Africa.

Their story shows that it does not matter where you are in the world, if it’s in the cards for you, with hard work and dedication, it will happen.


South Florida Caribbean News

The SFLCN.com Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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