SA's Ladysmith Black Mambazo wins Grammy

Monday, February 9, 2009
By: 
Edwin Tshivhidzo

Pretoria - Local music group Ladysmith Black Mambazo won the Best Traditional World Music Album award at the 2009 Grammy Awards held in Los Angeles, California on Sunday night.

During the glitzy star-studded event, the Isicathamiya group received the award for their latest album "Ilembe"- which honours Shaka Zulu.

They had been nominated in the category of Best Contemporary World Music CD as well as for Best Surround Sound Production.

Locally Ilembe won the South African Music Award for the Best Traditional A Cappella Album in 2008.

The group has been nominated for a Grammy Award 12 times over the years, winning twice before. The first award was received in 1987 for their album "Shaka Zulu". The second award was in presented in 2005 for their CD Raise Your Spirit Higher.

According to the group, Ilembe celebrates not only Shaka Zulu but the sense of perseverance, creativity and pride that he has inspired in generations of descendants.

"He was a warrior, an athlete, a singer, a dancer, a visionary, he was so many things," says Joseph Shabalala, lead singer and founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. "He was a diplomat too."

Formed by leader Joseph Shabalala in 1964, the group made their first recording in the early 1970's, and had recorded over 40 albums.

They are South Africa's foremost proponents of the Iscathamiya style of singing, and have grown to be one of the country's premier cultural exports.

The group gained international fame and recognition in the late 1980s, following its collaboration with Paul Simon on his Grammy Award-winning Graceland album.

Other winners included rock band Coldplay, R&B star Chris Brown, Plant and Krauss and rapper Lil Wayne.