Joseph Shabalala, Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder, dies aged 78

South African government pays tribute to singer whose group gained worldwide popularity after collaborating for Paul Simons Graceland

Joseph Shabalala, the bandleader who delivered the South African vocal accordance group Ladysmith Black Mambazo to world-wide success, has died aged 78.

Shabalala died in hospital in Pretoria and the information was confirmed by the group’s manager, Xolani Majozi. No cause of death has been announced.

” Our Founder, our Teacher and most importantly, our Father left us today for everlasting conciliation ,” the choir said here on social media.” We celebrate and honour your style heart and your singular life. Through your music and the millions who you came in contact with, you shall live forever .” South African director Cyril Ramaphosa announced him a” ex-serviceman choral maestro “.

Shabalala started singing as a girl with the groups Durban Choir and the Highlanders, before forming Ezimnyama in 1959. He later called it Ladysmith Black Mambazo- Ladysmith for his hometown, Black for the regional sheep, and Mambazo, the Zulu word for axe, as a allegory for the group’s sharpness.

Their exquisitely harmonised a cappella psalms in Zulu became tremendously popular in South Africa after the release of their debut book in 1973. The group’s members would go on to convert to Christianity and generating religious music into their repertoire.

Joseph Shabalala, figurehead left, with the membership of Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Paul Simon in 1993. Photograph: AP

They came to global attention after they collaborated with Paul Simon on his 1986 recording Graceland, co-writing the song Homeless- its music based on a Zulu wedding song- and singing the endorse to Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.

Over the years, they also collaborated with Dolly Parton, Josh Groban, Emmylou Harris and more; the group appeared in the Michael Jackson film Moonwalker. In 1993, they accompanied Nelson Mandela to his Nobel peace prize ceremony in Oslo. Their theme for England’s 1995 Rugby World Cup campaign, a version of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, reached No 15 in the UK singles shows, and a 1998 best-of compilation album contacted No 2.

Shabalala retired from Ladysmith Black Mambazo in 2014; four of his sons perform in the current lineup. The group have been nominated for 17 Grammy bestows, earning five, only recently for best world music album in 2017.

In 2002, Shabalala’s wife, Nellie, a religion clergyman who the hell is her own group, Women of Mambazo, was shot and killed in Durban. Joseph was injured in the attack as he pursued the gunman. Mboneni Mdunge was imprisoned of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The South African government information technology shared condolences to his family and paid tribute to him on Twitter, writing in Xhosa: “< em> Ulale ngoxolo Tata ugqatso lwakho ulufezile “-” Rest in armistice, parent, your race is complete “. Former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said Shabalala” will be remembered as a monstrous of South African music and a innovator of service industries “.

The Economic Freedom Fighters( EFF) defendant said in the following statement that the group’s” music “ve spoken to the” social actualities of pitch-black culture norms and legends, and was able to bring to light the social conditions of pitch-black South Africans “.

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