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Ladysmith Black Mambazo24:51

This article is more than 16 years old.
photoIt was Paul Simon, whose "Graceland" album helped bring the South African a cappella group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo to international fame, and Mambazo's leader Joseph Shabalala gave Simon the name, Vulindela meaning "he who opened the gate."

But the home country fame and roots of this 10-man Zulu group go much deeper than Paul Simon. Ladysmith Black Mambazo comes out of a singing tradition born in the mines of white-ruled South Africa. Its distinctive sound is attributed to a powerful recurring dream Joseph Shabalala had in 1964 of a group of children singing in an unforgettable harmony. Shabalala brought together family and friends and taught them these harmonies, and a legend was born. Today not only is Ladysmith Black Mambazo's Africa's number one selling group, but they've become Vulindelas themselves, opening South African doors at home and around the world. They've gone beyond promoting their own music.

Today, Joseph Shabalala and Ladysmith Black Mambazo are hoping to preserve and release to the world all the music of South Africa from their traditional miners' music to new sounds rooted deep in South African culture.


Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Special guests, Fourteen and Shongshilo

This program aired on February 14, 2003.

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