Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Josh Groban team up to record Weeping

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Click here to view the lyrics of "Weeping"
Click here to read about the development of "Weeping"
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Click here to see something about Josh Groban's career
Click here to read a little about Vusi Mahlasela's story
Click here to view a very compressed history of the anti Apartheid movement in South Africa
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Ladysmith Black Mambazo are a world-renowned singing group from south Africa, established in the mid-1960's by Joseph Shabalala.
Ladysmith is the name of his family's hometown, and "mambazo" means "axe" in Zulu, reflecting the competitive spirit that existed between vocal groups at that time.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo wasn't Joseph's first group; he had led a group since 1960, but a series of dreams he had in 1964 convinced him to re-invent it as Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
The musical style of Ladysmith Black Mambazo is known by a Zulu word meaning "tread softly", which perfectly evokes their sensitive harmonic work.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo soon gained such a formidable reputation that they weren't allowed to enter singing competions, because they were simply too good.
The debut album by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, "Amabutho", was the first album by a black artist to achieve Gold status in South Africa.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo released their first religious album, "Ukukhanya Kwelanga", in 1975, following Joseph Shabalala's conversion to Christianity in 1975.
Thereafter, the repertoire of Ladysmith Black Mambazo acquired a mostly-religious flavor.

Having become well-known throughout South Africa by the beginning of the 1980's, Ladysmith Black Mambazo began to gain an international reputation when they toured Germany in 1981.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo appeared on German television and even sang in German on a track they recorded, which led to another visit to Germany for Ladysmith Black Mambazo the following year.
But the biggest international breakthrough for Ladysmith Black Mambazo came in 1986, when American musical legend Paul Simon traveled to South Africa, hoping to collaborate with local musicians on his album "Graceland".
He invited Ladysmith Black Mambazo to record with him in London, and they appeared on songs like "Homeless" and "Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes".
The success of the album introduced Ladysmith Black Mambazo to a world-wide audience, and Paul Simon produced three of their subsequent albums aimed at the US market.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo have won two Grammy awards so far, the first being in 1988 for their album "Shaka Zulu".

In 1993, when future South African President Nelson Mandela traveled to Oslo, Norway, to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, he requested that Ladysmith Black Mambazo accompany him, and the following year, they performed at his inauguration.

Although Ladysmith Black Mambazo have been afflicted many times by personal tragedies and untimely deaths, they have continued their musical work.
Following the retirement of three members in 1993, Joseph Shabalala recruited three of his sons into the Ladysmith Black Mambazo line-up.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo have recorded with such artists as Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, George Clinton, Sarah McLachlan, Melissa Etheridge, Natalie Merchant and Emmylou Harris.
In 2006, American singer Josh Groban invited Ladysmith Black Mambazo to accompany him on his recording of the South African freedom song, "Weeping".

Click here for "Weeping" Homepage

Weeping , written by Dan Heymann (sometimes mis-spelled as Dan Heyman ), is a famous protest song that emerged from the South African anti Apartheid movement during the mid-1980's, and this song of freedom has been recorded by many artists, including noted South African band Bright Blue and, more recently, Josh Groban , in a collaboration with Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Vusi Mahlasela , who has previously released a solo recording of this song of protest . The anti Apartheid lyrics Weeping contains are among the most-recorded freedom song lyrics of any protest song to have come out of South Africa. The Weeping song (rights to which are partially controlled by Muffled Music ) led to a February, 2006, encounter between singer Josh Groban and songwriter Dan Heymann (occasionally mis-spelled as Heyman ) at New York City's Sony Studios, a legendary institution which has given many a song freedom to soar. It was a thrill for Dan to hear his anti Apartheid song being recorded by such a high-caliber team. Having been a musician in contact with various anti-Apartheid movements during the Freedom-Struggle in South Africa, when examining the Weeping lyrics , Dan was thrilled to feel the connection of his lyric to protest song tradition. When the time came to add backing vocals, nobody needed to teach Vusi Mahlasela lyrics to the Weeping song , having already performed it live so many times, and this new rendition of Dan's familiar rhyming- lyric protest song should give the song freedom to reach many new listeners. Many protest songs were inspired by the anti Apartheid movement and Dan is proud that his freedom song has been so well-received, particularly when there are already so many wonderful anti-Apartheid protest song lyrics in existence.