Ladysmith Black Mambazo
For more than fifty years, the voices of Ladysmith Black Mambazo have married the intricate rhythms and harmonies of their native South African musical traditions to the sounds and sentiments of Christian gospel music. The result is a musical and spiritual alchemy that has touched a worldwide audience representing every corner of the religious, cultural and ethnic landscape. Their musical efforts throughout the past four decades have garnered praise and accolades within the recording industry, but also solidified their identity as a cultural force to be reckoned with.
In the mid-1980s, Paul Simon visited South Africa and incorporated Black Mambazo’s rich tenor/alto/bass harmonies into his “Graceland” album—a landmark 1986 recording that was considered seminal in introducing world music to mainstream audiences. “Graceland” won many awards including the Grammy Award for Best Album of the Year. A year later, Simon produced Black Mambazo’s first U.S. release, “Shaka Zulu,” which won the Grammy Award in 1988, for Best Traditional Folk Album. Since then, and in total, the group has received sixteen Grammy Award Nominations and four Grammy Award wins, the most recent of which was awarded to the group January 26, 2014.