Ladysmith Black Mambazo nominated for Grammy Awards


When the Grammy nominees for 2017 were announced on Tuesday afternoon, it was once again a joyful moment to see one of South Africa’s favourite groups among the ranks: Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

The group’s album Walking In The Footsteps Of Our Fathers was nominated in the category Best World Music Album.

The other nominees in this category are:

Destiny – Celtic Woman

Sing Me Home – Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble

Land Of Gold – Anoushka Shankar

Dois Amigos, Um Século De Música: Multishow Live – Caetano Veloso & Gilberto Gil

Ladysmith Black Mambazo has a proud history with the Grammys – they were first nominated – and won – in 1988 for Shaka Zulu. In 2004 they won again, this time for Raise Your Spirit Higher.

But the group weren’t done. In 2009 they were awarded another Grammy for Honoring Shaka Zulu, and yet another Grammy in 2013 for the album Live: Singing For Peace Around The World.

The group has its origins in 1964, when Joseph Shabalala, a factory worker, formed the group after a series of dreams he had.

The group’s name is derived from three elements: Ladysmith (in KwaZulu-Natal) was his home town; the word 'Black' refers to a black ox, which is considered to be the strongest farm animal; and the word “mambazo” is the Zulu for 'axe', and refers to the group’s ability to “chop down” other groups in competition.

So good were they at “chopping down” the competition, that they were prohibited from entering local singing competitions at the end of the 1960’s.

The group’s main musical influence is isicathamiya, a traditional Zulu musical style which is very popular amongst mine workers in the region.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo has performed with many famous international musicians over the years, among them: Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Sarah McLachlan, Josh Groban, Emmylou Harris en Melissa Etheridge. The list goes on.

The Grammy Awards consists of 84 categories and the winners will be announced at a gala evening on 12 February 2017.

The 2017 nominees also include Beyoncé with nine nominations, and Drake, Rihanna and Kanye West with eight nominations each.

Click here for the full list of 2017 Grammy nominations.


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