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.