Joseph Shabalala Biography, Wiki
Joseph Shabalala born Bhekizizwe Joseph Siphatimandla Mxoveni Mshengu Bigboy Shabalala was a South African singer. He was the founder and musical director of the choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Shabalala started his music career at home in KZN in 1958 with the Durban Choir. When he joined the choir, he attempted to teach them some of his new compositions, namely his first song Nomathemba. They disregarded his initiative, after two years he left.
According to SAMRO, in 1960, Shabalala discovered The Highlanders, a group which was led by Galiyane Hlatshwayo, the man who trained him to use his voice powerfully. In the same year, Shabalala formed his own group called Ezimnyama.
1964 was a major turning point for Shabalala and the group. A series of dreams Shabalala had in his sleep inspired the music he created. With his creations they then entered weekly local isicathamiya competitions.
The group did so well they had to be exempted from competitions and only allowed to perform for entertainment. It was then that he renamed the group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
For years, they enjoyed major local success until 1986 when Paul Simon travelled to South Africa for his Graceland project. Their international big break was their collaboration with Simon on the world famous Graceland album. Little did Shabalala know that he and his group would be introduced to the world-wide music industry through the hit Homeless.
The collaboration with Simon on its own before the music was released sent alarms on an international scale, given South Africa’s political landscape and sanctions at the time. Simon had also defied the United Nations boycott on South Africa.
It also opened opportunities never seen before on a local and international scale, and earned them the prestigious Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1986. Ladysmith Black Mambazo went on to work with international artists such as Josh Groban, Dolly Parton, Sarah McLachlan, Stevie Wonder and many more.
Shabalala has had audiences at the highest level of royalty and political office including the Queen Elizabeth II of England and Pope John Paul II. He has performed at Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies and also shared the stage with world renowned artists such as Paul McCartney.
The group has a number of special guest appearances including on Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker video, Spike Lee’s Do It A Cappella and Saturday Night Live. They provided soundtrack material for a number of major motion pictures including Disney’s The Lion King II, Eddie Murphy’s Coming To America, Marlon Brando’s A Dry White Season, Sean Connery’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, James Earl Jones’ Cry The Beloved Country and Clint Eastwood’s Invictus.
The group’s life story documentary was nominated for an Academy Award. They have appeared on Broadway and have been nominated for Tony Awards and have won a Drama Desk Award.
Shabalala and the group are widely regarded as one of the most successful world music artists with a healthy touring schedule.
In 2014 Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Joseph Shabalala celebrate over fifty years of joyous and uplifting music. Within this music are the intricate rhythms and harmonies of native South African musical traditions taken to the world.
Their musical efforts over the past five decades have garnered praise and accolades from a wide array of people, organisations and countries across the world.
Joseph Shabalala Age
Joseph Shabalala was born on 28 August 1941 in Ladysmith, South Africa. He died on 11 February 2020 in Pretoria, South Africa aged 78.
Joseph Shabalala Wife
He was married to his wife Nellie Shabalala.
Joseph Shabalala Children
Joseph Shabalala had 4 children; Sibongiseni Shabalala, Thulani Shabalala, Thamsanqa Shabalala, and Msizi Shabalala.
Joseph Shabalala Death
Joseph Shabalala died on 11 February 2020 at Life Eugene Marais Hospital at age 78.
Joseph Shabalala Cause of Death
Joseph Shabalala’s cause of death was not revealed.