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Grammy winners keen to pay it forward

Johannesburg - South African traditional choir Ladysmith Black Mambazo are already eyeing their next Grammy award.

The choir secured their fourth one last weekend after winning best world music album for Singing for Peace Around the World .

Ladysmith Black Mambazo have won their fourth Grammy for their album Singing for Peace Around the World. Credit: SATURDAY STAR

The group tied with The Gipsy Kings.

Speaking to the Saturday Star this week, from the US, where they are currently touring, Mambazo members Albert Mazibuko and Thamsanqa Shabalala said they were delighted to have won their fourth Grammy.

“It feels incredible,” said Mazibuko. “To think we’ve been making music all of these years and the world music community still appreciates our music is a terrific thing. It gives us strength to keep on going.”

They dedicate their win to Nelson Mandela.

“After Madiba was released from prison he told us we needed to use our ability to travel the world as a way to spread a message of peace,” said Mazibuko.

“So this has been our mission as we travel the world. To sing for peace around the world. When we put this CD together we called it Singing for Peace Around the World because of Madiba.”

Due to the group touring the US, Shabalala said that they could not make it to the Grammy Awards on Sunday night.

“We could not be there because we had a concert that day in Richmond, Virginia. We sent our manager to get the Grammy for us. We told him, ‘Don't come back if you don’t get the Grammy.’ Lucky for him that we won.”

They’ve been so busy they couldn’t even celebrate properly.

“We learnt we won the Grammy Award at 5pm where we were,” said Shabalala. “We were getting ready to do our concert so we couldn’t do too much. We prayed thanks for the goodness that has come our way. We thanked God for his blessings. Then we went on stage and sang our music.”

Shabalala confirmed that the group returns home on March 25.

“The concerts have been wonderful. So many people still come to our concerts here and they are very appreciative to our music.”

The group admit they dearly miss home while on tour.

“We miss family, and also just being in South Africa,” said Shabalala. “The sights, the people, the smells, the food. It’s home and though we travel six to seven months each year, it’s always the best to come home.”

Mazibuko said that Ladysmith Black Mambazo fans can expect more success in the future.

“I think we have a great chance of winning another Grammy. Maybe even next year because our new CD is out in the US already. It’s called Always With Us.”

When the group returns to South Africa they will be performing in a new musical called Amambazo at the State Theatre in Pretoria from April 17 to May 10. The show is about the group’s history.

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