10 February 2009
South African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo won the award for best traditional world music album at the 2009 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California on Sunday night.
The Isicathamiya group received the award for their latest album, Ilembe, which honours Shaka Zulu. The album won the South African Music Award for best traditional a cappella album in 2008.
12 Grammy nominations
Ladysmith Black Mambazo have been nominated for a Grammy award 12 times over the years, winning twice before. They received their first Grammy in 1987 for their album Shaka Zulu. The second award was in presented in 2005 for their album Raise Your Spirit Higher.
According to the group, Ilembe celebrates not only Shaka Zulu but the sense of perseverance, creativity and pride that the 19th century Zulu monarch inspired in generations of descendants.
“He was a warrior, an athlete, a singer, a dancer, a visionary, he was so many things,” said Joseph Shabalala, lead singer and founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. “He was a diplomat too.”
Over 40 albums
Formed by Shabalala in 1964, the group made their first recording in the early 1970s, and have recorded over 40 albums since.
They are South Africa’s foremost proponents of the Iscathamiya style of singing, and have grown to be one of the country’s premier cultural exports.
The group gained international fame and recognition in the late 1980s, following their collaboration with Paul Simon on his Grammy Award-winning Graceland album.