The title of the new Ladysmith Black Mambazo album, “Songs from a Zulu Farm,” is more than just a poetic turn of phrase.
“We used to sing [‘Leliyafu’] a lot when it was winter, when we were herding the livestock,” recalls longtime member Albert Mazibuko.
Since those days, his life has seen some dramatic turns. Rather miraculously for a black singing group from apartheid-era South Africa, Ladysmith Black Mambazo rose to local fame in singing competitions and eventually international stardom through their 1986 collaboration with Paul Simon on his “Graceland” album and tour. Since then, they’ve picked up three Grammys.
Today, the members — who range in age from 25 to 70 — hope to preserve a disappearing culture and introduce kids to songs they don’t learn anymore.
“We want people to have a feeling for how life was when we grew up,” says Mazibuko.