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Black Mambazo delivers a Grammy performance

SOUTH Africa’s group Ladysmith Black Mambazo has been awarded Grammy Awards and represented their homeland and Africa at many prestigious events and they showed that class offering a sparkling and bubbling performance worth another Grammy at Bingu International Conference Centre in Lilongwe on Saturday night.

The male choral group which sings in the vocal styles of isicathamiya and mbube as part of promoting the Zulu culture shared the stage with the country’s accapella group Joyful Souls that also performed well.

This was not the first time for the group to perform in Malawi, they have been here before but this time around it was not a full squad as it missed some members including the founder Joseph Shabalala, who these days is more of an overseer than a performer.

The show organised by Qoncept Creative led by Creative Director Q Malewezi and supported by several other companies including Malawian Airlines, attracted the presence of several high profile people including former official hostess to late Hastings Kamuzu Banda, Mama Cecelia Kadzamira.

The group from the rainbow nation which has travelled the world  so many times spreading the message of peace, love and harmony as well as accompanying former South Africa’s President late Nelson Mandela to Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize received a standing ovation after finishing off their set.

In their traditional dressing, Black Mambazo sung with energy and danced with power showing the Zulu dance which they fuse with other genres.

The audience were attentive throughout their act and in some instances the group engaged them to sing along and no wonder when they offered their last song, people were still in need of more.

And with the audience still calling for more, the group did justice to people by dishing one song titled ‘Shosholoza,’ before taking a bow. Their set was made complete on the night as they dished out ‘Homeless,’ one of the songs which made them rise to worldwide prominence as a result of singing with Paul Simon on his 1986 album Graceland.

One of the oldest members of the group, Mdletshe Albert Mazibuko, who is a cousin to Shabalala, said they were amazed with the huge support they received and would love to come back. “We are happy with the support received and this was amazing and the auditorium is just good,” said Mazibuko.

The 67-year-old also said they were happy to share the stage with Joyful Souls, adding that they would love to work with Malawian musicians. Joyful Souls, famed for the hit ‘Tidzawuluka,’ described their sharing the stage with Black Mambazo as special.

“We have learned a lot, this is an award-winning group and to perform with them is special. We actually have networked with them and they would love us to perform in South Africa,” said the group’s leader and one of the founders Rodgers Mpinganjira.

Mpinganjira also revealed that they are currently in the studio working on a new album and that Malawians should just watch the space. Ladysmith Black Mambazo was formed in 1960 by Shabalala and the three elements of its name are the hometown of Shabalala.

Their music credit spans decades with a discography of over 50 albums and their influence has led to their contributing soundtrack material for a number of films, including The Lion King Part II and Coming to America.

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