Joseph Shabalala , Leader / founder of 5 times Grammy Awards winning Group – Ladysmith Black Mambazo is reportedly dead.
The founder, whose breathtakingly complex and scintillating harmonies shot the group to global fame in the 1980s when the members were featured prominently on Paul Simon’s blockbuster album “Graceland,” has died in Pretoria, at Life Eugene Marais Hospital.
The band’s manager Xolani Majozi said that the 78-year-old was suffering from complications from a spinal surgery in 2012 that left him wheelchair-bound.
Shabalala was born August 28, 1941 in Ladysmith, South Africa, and was well known for his unique and stirring vocals. The group has won five Grammy awards and traveled the world, putting South Africa’s music scene on the map in an innovative way. Shabalala formed the band in 1960 and led it for more than 50 years. He retired in 2014 due to health issues but continued to make appearances with the group at events.
It is said Shabalala formed Ladysmith Black Mambazo because of a series of dreams he had in which he heard certain Isicathamiya harmonies – isicathamiya being the traditional music of the Zulu people. The band was so good, the members were told they could not enter any more competitions in Africa because they would always win.
The group shared the sad news on their twitter account
He will always be remembered for this performance ! Legendary