JOHANNESBURG – It has been two years since their iconic founder and leader, Joseph Shabalala, retired, but the group that sings in the vocal styles of isicathamiya and mbube, remain as vibrant as they did when Paul Simon was captivated by their mesmerising performances and co-opted them on his 1996 album Graceland.
Apart from family bonds that run deep within the group, they have shared values and a common vision, which has resulted in years of success.
Joseph Shabalala – the glue that held them together since their formation 56 years ago – incalculated these values well. Even now without him, Black Mambazo still exudes mutual respect among the singers.
Since its formation, more than 30 different men have been part of Black Mambazo, which has a permanent singing line up of nine members.
The group has produced over 30 albums since releasing their first in 1973, including their highly successful collaboration on Graceland.
They have also won countless other awards across the globe and collaborated with international icons, including Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Dolly Parton to name but a few.
Locally they have collaborated with PJ Powers, The Soil, MiCasa and Zahara. Black Mambazo has also collaborated with other African artists including Oliver Mtukudzi and Salif Keita.
At a sold-out Joburg Theatre on Saturday and Sunday, the group staged a “Ladysmith Black Mambazo Night of Legends Concert”, a special 56th anniversary celebration.
On Sunday when the opportunity arose, it was evident how eager fans were to be scripted in the history of the iconic Black Mambazo as they jostled for a chance to go on stage.
Though it’s been tough and long, the journey in the new era has only just begun for Black Mambazo.
The good thing for Black Mambazo is that there are millions of new fans waiting to to enthralled, even as the generations come and go.
– African News Agency