Founded by Joseph Shabalala during the 1960s, Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a Grammy-winning choral group from South Africa. Specializing in isicathamiya, a harmony-focused Zulu style of a cappella and offshoot of mbube, they became known to pop audiences around the world when Paul Simon featured them on his 1986 album Graceland. After joining Simon on his 1987 Graceland tour, they became regular headliners on the international touring circuit.
Born in 1941, Shabalala was one of eight children in a family that lived on a farm near the town of Ladysmith, South Africa. As the oldest boy, it was Joseph's duty to take care of the family after his father died, and he eventually took up factory work.
His first musical experience, save for a bit of fooling around on the guitar, came with a choral group called the Blacks. Shabalala eventually ... Read Full Biography