South Africa’s male choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo has notched its fourth Grammy awards and set the record as the African act with the most wins in the history of the awards. The last Grammy prize annexed by the world-acclaimed group was in 2008 for the song ‘Ilembe’ for the Best Traditional Folk category.
The 2014 award was shared with flamenco fusionists, the Gipsy Kings. Mambazo won Best World Music Album for their album “Singing for Peace around the World”. Ladysmith has also bagged a resounding seventeen (17) Grammy nominations dating back to 1988.
Joseph Shabalala formed Ladysmith Black Mambazo because of a series of dreams he had in 1964. Following their local success at wedding ceremonies and other gatherings, Shabalala entered them into competitions. The group was described as ‘so good’ that they were eventually forbidden to enter the competitions. They released their first album, Amabutho, in 1973. The album, along with many other releases by the group, received gold disc certification.
In a related development, The ANC congratulated the acapella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo for jointly winning a fourth Grammy award.
“We take great pride in Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s achievement, which the group dedicated to the memory and legacy of former president Nelson Mandela,” spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.
.The ensemble, led by founder Joseph Shabalala, was thrust before a global audience in 1986 when it collaborated on Paul Simon’s ground-breaking Grammy-winning album “Graceland” and joined the US songwriter’s ensuing tour.
Their album “Shaka Zulu”, produced by Simon, netted their first Grammy in 1988 for Best Folk Recording. The group was awarded two more Grammys for “Raise Your Spirit Higher” in 2004 and “Ilembe” in 2009.