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Happy!- Aug 28 (Shabalala)

Abby Sale 28 Aug 05 - 09:13 AM
Azizi 28 Aug 05 - 01:47 PM
CET 28 Aug 05 - 01:54 PM
Azizi 28 Aug 05 - 01:59 PM
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Subject: Happy!- Aug 28 (Shabalala)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 28 Aug 05 - 09:13 AM

Happy Birthday!

"Ladysmith Black Mambazo" leader,

Joseph Shabalala

was born


Shabalala formed the mbube-style a cappella group in 1964. A few years later, he found the group's distinctive harmonies and rhythms in a dream. Then he conquered the world.

Copyright © 2005, Abby Sale - all rights reserved
What are Happy's all about? See Clicky

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Subject: RE: Happy!- Aug 28 (Shabalala)
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Aug 05 - 01:47 PM

I'm just popping in to say I love Ladysmith Black Mombazo!

See this excerpt from an online website on the group:

In 1993, at Nelson Mandela's request, Black Mambazo accompanied the future President, and then South African President F.W. de Klerk, to the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway. Mambazo sang again at President Mandela's inauguration in May of 1994. They are a national treasure of the new South Africa in part because they embody the traditions suppressed in the old South Africa.

When Paul Simon made his initial trip to South Africa, he met Joseph Shabalala and the other members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo in a recording studio in Johannesburg. Having listened to a cassette of their music sent by a DJ based in Los Angeles, Simon was captivated by the stirring sound of bass, alto and tenor harmonies. Simon incorporated the traditional sounds of black South Africa into the "Graceland" album, a project regarded by many as seminal to today's explosive interest in World Music.

The traditional music sung by Ladysmith Black Mambazo is called ISICATHAMIYA (Is-Cot-A-Me-Ya). It was born in the mines of South Africa. Black workers were taken by rail to work far away from their homes and their families. Poorly housed and paid worse, they would entertain themselves after a six-day week by singing songs into the wee hours every Sunday morning. Cothoza Mfana they called themselves, "tip toe guys," referring to the dance steps choreographed so as to not disturb the camp security guards. When miners returned to the homelands, the tradition returned with them. There began a fierce but social competition held regularly and a highlight of everyone's social calendar. The winners were awarded a goat for their efforts and, of course, the adoration of their fans. These competitions are held even today in YMCA assembly halls and church basements throughout "Zululand."

In the mid-fifties Joseph Shabalala took advantage of his proximity to the urban sprawl of the city of Durban, allowing him the opportunity to seek work in a factory. Leaving the family farm was not easy, but it was during this time that Joseph first showed a talent for singing. After singing with a few groups in Durban he returned to his hometown of Ladysmith and began to put together groups of his own. He was rarely satisfied with the results. "I felt there was something missing... I tried to teach the music that I felt, but I failed, until 1964 when a dream came to me. I always hear the harmony from that dream and I said 'This is the harmony that I want and I can teach it to my guys'." Joseph recruited members of his immediate family – brothers Headman and Jockey, cousins Albert and Abednego Mazibuko and other close friends to join. Joseph taught the group the harmonies from his dreams. With time and patience, Joseph's work began to reveal the colors of these dreams.

The name LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO came about as a result of winning every singing competition in which the group entered. "Ladysmith" is the hometown of the Shabalala family; "Black" makes reference to black oxen, considered to be the strongest on the farm. The Zulu word "Mambazo" refers to an ax – symbolic of the group's ability to "chop down" the competition. So good were they that after a time they were forbidden to enter the competitions but welcomed, of course, to entertain at them."



And "Shabalala"-what a wonderful sounding name!!

Thanks, Abby for the information about Joseph Shabalala's birthday.


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Subject: RE: Happy!- Aug 28 (Shabalala)
From: CET
Date: 28 Aug 05 - 01:54 PM

Their albums are great, but as a live act they are in a class of their own. I heard them in a concert in a church in Ottawa this spring, and just thinking about them sends a shiver up my spine.


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Subject: RE: Happy!- Aug 28 (Shabalala)
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Aug 05 - 01:59 PM

CET, you're lucky. I would love to see this group perform live.

Also if you like this music I think you would love to see the play "Boot Dance". I saw this group of South African young men perform about three years ago in Pittsburgh and it was the best show I have ever seen bar none.

I'm so glad I bought the CD before the performance. I just wished that they had a video.

They were Great!!!

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