Ulwazi receives countless emails every month from people wanting to know the meaning of their dreams, but when Joseph Shabalala started having dreams about music, he knew exactly what the dreams meant and what he was supposed to do! Joseph formed the now famous Ladysmith Black Mambazo in the early 1950s, and by the mid ’60s the group had honed their skills to the point where they were banned from taking part in isicathamiya competitions because it was considered unfair to the other competitors! But it was only in 1986 when the group performed with Paul Simon on his Graceland album – in contravention of the cultural boycott against South Africa – that the band gained international recognition, with the album selling 16 million copies worldwide. It’s been a non-stop train ride on the Success Express ever since, with the group receiving countless accolades and awards, including three SAMAs, and three – no make it four – Grammy Awards! Ladysmith Black Mambazo recently tied with Gipsy Kings for the Best World Music Album at the 2014 Grammy Awards.
Hats off to Joseph and the Ladysmith Black Mambazo, they really have made South Africa proud!
Note: In recognition of the passing of Nelson Mandela, the group have promised to donate the proceeds of the album purchased via their website to the former president’s charity, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. Click here to visit the website.
Photo courtesy of the South African Consulate General.