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Thu, 12.01.1960

Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Singing Group is Formed

*On this date in 1960, we celebrate Ladysmith Black Mambazo. They are a Black South African male choral group singing in the local vocal styles of isicathamiya and mbube being the traditional music of the Zulu people.

Formed by Joseph Shabalala, Ladysmith Black Mambazo became one of South Africa's most prolific recording artists, with their releases receiving gold and platinum disc honors. The group became a mobile academy of South African cultural heritage through their African indigenous style. Following their local success at wedding ceremonies and other gatherings, Shabalala entered them into isicathamiya competitions.

The group was described as 'so good that they were eventually forbidden to enter the competitions but welcomed to entertain at them. Although they had been recognized as an isicathamiya group in 1964, they had been singing together since the early 1950s. They released their first album, Amabutho, in 1973. The album, along with many other releases by the group, received gold disc certification.

They became known internationally after singing with Paul Simon on his 1986 album Graceland, and have won five Grammy Awards, dedicating their fifth Grammy to the late former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa.

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