In 2017 Ladysmith Black Mambazo – led by founder and leader JOSEPH SHABALALA – celebrates over fifty years of joyous and uplifting music. Within this music are the intricate rhythms and harmonies of their native South African musical traditions. In those years, the a cappella vocal group has created a musical and spiritual spirit that has touched a worldwide audience. Their musical efforts over the past five decades have garnered praise and accolades from a wide body of people, organizations and countries.
In 2013 the group released "Live: Singing For Peace Around The World" which is a collection of songs recorded during their World Tours of 2011 and 2012. It was awarded a Grammy as Best World Music CD for 2013.
During the 1970's and early 1980's Ladysmith Black Mambazo established themselves as the most succesful singing group in South Africa. In the mid-1980s, Paul Simon visited South Africa and incorporated the group's rich tenor/alto/bass harmonies into his famous "Graceland" album – a landmark recording that was considered seminal in introducing world music to mainstream audiences. A year later, Paul Simon produced Ladysmith Black Mambazo's first worldwide release, "Shaka Zulu", which won a Grammy Award in 1988 for Best Folk Recording. Since then, the group has been awarded two more Grammy Awards for "Raise Your Spirit Higher (2004) and "Ilembe" (2009), and has been nominated a total of fifteen times.
In addition to their work with Paul Simon, Ladysmith Black Mambazo has recorded with numerous artists from around the world, including Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Sarah McLachlan, Josh Groban, Emmylou Harris, Melissa Etheridge,and many others. Their film work includes a featured appearance in Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker video and Spike Lee’s Do It A Cappella. They've provided soundtrack material for Disney’s The Lion King, Part II as well as 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. A film documentary titled On Tip Toe: Gentle Steps to Freedom, the story of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, 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. In more recent popular culture they have been part of such shows as The Family Guy & the movie Mean Girls ("But you LOVE Ladysmith Black Mambazo").