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Editors’ Notes

This Paul Simon-produced 1987 release followed on the heels of South African choir Ladysmith Black Mambazo's breakout international debut on Simon’s own Graceland. Sung in both Zulu and English, Shaka Zulu is a quietly majestic masterpiece of the all-male, a cappella isicathamiya choral tradition. Though recorded in the depths of the apartheid era, Joseph Shablala’s plaintive, hopeful lead tenor shines through on “Unomathemba,” while gospel-inflected tracks like “King of Kings” and “How Long?” remain defiant, soulful, and profoundly humane.

Customer Reviews


You want to feel great, close your eyes, put on some headphones and this album will put you on a journey you will never forget


Formed: 1974 in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, South A

Genre: World

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Ladysmith Black Mambazo was founded by Joseph Shabalala in 1974. They've cut well over 30 albums since, but the group did not become well known outside of South Africa until Paul Simon asked them to perform on Graceland. Shabalala was born into a poor family that lived on a white man's farm near the town of Ladysmith. There were eight children in the Shabalala family, and, as the oldest boy, it was Joseph's duty to take care of the family after his father died. Shabalala's first musical experience,...
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Shaka Zulu, Ladysmith Black Mambazo
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