Friday January 31, 2014
‘Spirit Of Family’ Unites Ladysmith Black Mambazo
By: NPR Staff
For fans of world music, South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo needs no introduction.
The group has been singing a capella together for 50 years, brought together by Joseph Shabalala, a young farmhand turned factory worker from the town of Ladysmith. He had a dream of tight vocal harmonies and messages of peace.
That dream developed, and the band came to the attention of Paul Simon, who had it record “Homeless” on his album Graceland. It introduced the group to the world.
Albert Mazibuko, Shabalala’s cousin and one of the last original members of the group, tells NPR’s Tell Me More that he remembers knowing instantly that there was something special about the song. “After we recorded the song, I listened to it, and I said to myself, ‘This is the song that is going to give us the wings,’ “ he says.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo just learned it won its fourth Grammy — this one, best world music album for Live: Singing for Peace around the World — while on a U.S. tour. “I felt like I was flying,” Mazibuko says. “We have won Grammys, but this one is very important because it’s dedicated to the man who dedicated his life to peace.”
To read more and to listen to a recording of the broadcast click here