The talented protégés of Ladysmith Black Mambazo have been mobilised and they are ready for you to experience their sound.
Young Mbazo was formed in 2009 by Babuyile Shabalala – the son of Ladysmith Black Mambazo member Msizi Shabalala, who is the son of the late Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala.
Babuyile approached his cousins about starting a contemporary version of indigenous a capella music.
Naturally, the younger group feels that it has to live up to the standards and expectations that people will have because of their link to Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, we feel absolute pressure to live up to the legendary group. However, it’s a privilege to stand on the shoulders of such experienced giants,” said group member Themba Shabalala.
Babuyile chipped in: “It is humbling and a blessing to be born of an iconic music group and ambassadors of the South African music industry, as former president Nelson Mandela used to call them. Actually, we are not filling their shoes, simply putting our footprints next to the shoes of giants.”
Young Mbazo has already collaborated with a few artists from overseas.
“We think it worth mentioning that we have been approached by some American artists and a few from around the continent who are keen to work with us. We have done some work with Sabrina Francis from Grenada [an island country in the West Indies] and Ganda Boys from Uganda, who are based in the UK,” Themba said.
The group’s first full-length project, called Cothoza Wethu, will see the light of day in the not-too-distant future.
“You can expect the project before the end of this year. We released our first single, Dudlu, on May 28. It is hot. It will be followed by our second single called Will Love You (My Thanana) just before we release the full project, in which you will find the isicathamiya vibe, traditional hip-hop and soul music.”
As for how they will sprinkle a little bit of their youthful energy into the iconic sound, Themba said: “We believe it will attract more young people to embrace the original isicathamiya using modern technology and a modern way of crafting our music.
“[It will] also reach out to rural and township communities, who are the custodians of isicathamiya.”
They pride themselves on their taste for hip-hop, R&B, jazz and soul influences, while still maintaining their isicathamiya essence.