Ladysmith Black Mambazo won a Grammy Award last night in Los Angeles, for their album: “Live: Singing for Peace and the World”. They shared the Grammy for Best World Music Album with the Gipsy Kings.
“Live: Singing for Peace and the World” is a collection of songs recorded during the South African choir’s world tours in 2011 and 2012. It was released last year, and dedicated to South Africa’s former President Nelson Mandela.
Since the band shot to worldwide fame when they collaborated on Paul Simon’s Grammy-winning album ‘Graceland’ in the ’80s, they have gone on to win four of their own Grammy awards – in 1988, 2004, 2009 and now 2014.
The win comes in the year that the band celebrates its 50th anniversary.
It also comes just a week after its founder and leader – former ‘farmboy’ Joseph Shabalala – announced his retirement from the band. His son, Thamsanqa, will take his place as lead singer.
The band’s name was chosen because Joseph hailed from Ladysmith in Kwa Zulu-Natal, Black represents oxen which are the strongest farm animal, and Mambazo means ‘chopping axe’ in Zulu which was a symbol that the band would ‘chop down’ any musical competitors.
This year the capella vocal group will release ‘Always With Us’, an album that is a tribute to Jospeh’s late wife, Nellie, who was the band’s ‘matriarch’ and passed away in 2002.
This was the Gipsy Kings’ sixth Grammy nomination but their first win.
CONGRATULATIONS to both bands, and THANK YOU Joseph Shabalala for five decades of making moving, inspiring, wonderful, South African, spiritual music!
WATCH SABC INTERVIEW WITH JOSEPH SHABALALA YESTERDAY (less than 24 hours before the Grammy win):