Penguin Eggs pays tribute to Joseph Shabalala, David Onley, Arty McGlynn, Bob Stone, and Buddy Cage.
Joseph Shabalala, founder of the Grammy Award-winning South African all-male, a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mamboza, died in Life Eugene Marais Hospital in Pretoria, Feb. 11, from long-term complications attributed to back surgery, aged 78.
While Ladysmith Black Mambazo were the first black group in South Africa to earn gold status for sales of their debut LP Amabutho (1973) and would record numerous national gold and platinum discs, their harmony singing gained widespread international recognition for their collaboration with Paul Simon on his blockbuster album Graceland.
They would feature prominently on two of the album’s key tracks, Homeless and Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes, both co-written by Shabalala. Graceland sold 16 million copies worldwide and won the 1987 Grammy for Album of the Year. Ladysmith Black Mambazou, too, would win Grammy Awards—five in all, the last in 2018 for Shaka Zulu Revisited: 30th Anniversary Celebration as Best World Music Album.
They would also collaborate with the likes of Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and Mavis Staples, and appear in the Michael Jackson film Moonwalker. They earned a Tony nomination for their score for the 1993 Broadway play The Song of Jacob Zulu, in which they performed as a chorus. And that same year, they accompanied Nelson Mandela to Oslo when he accepted his Nobel Peace Prize.
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