BY SHARON SIBINDI
Globetrotting local imbube group, Black Umfolosi, says they wished to stage and do a collaboration with Joseph Shabalala, the Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder who died on Tuesday last week, but their tight schedules couldn’t allow them.
Shabalala, who died at the age of 78, brought Ladysmith Black Mambazo into global success and gained fame after collaborating with Paul Simon on his Graceland album and tour.
“We wished so much to share the stage or to do some collaboration with them, but that never happened,” Black Umfolosi founder Sotja Moyo told Standard Style.
“We have been compared to them [Joseph and Black Mambazo] and we have toured the world as them, but we have always maintained our junior position and respect for Shabalala.
“There was one gentleman who wanted to put a show in Boston, US, for us together with Black Mambazo, but our schedules would not allow that. We missed that out sadly.”
Moyo said despite the group not getting a chance to stage a show together, he managed to attend some of the Ladysmith Black Mambazo shows, which he would live to remember.
“I attended Joseph Shabalala and Black Mambazo shows both here and abroad. He was one man who would stand before any race anywhere in the world and have them nodding their heads in agreement that he was so talented,” he said.
He said Black Umfolosi were inspired by Shabalala’s work and love of the genre.
“Black Umfolosi was inspired by Shabalala and I can not deny that because I remember when we founded Black Umfolosi, we did not have our own songs,” Moyo said.
“We relied on community songs and those by Joseph Shabalala and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
“I remember we had a difficult time in trying to convince each other that we write our own songs.
“At times, we would quarrel or have divisions in the group with others saying it couldn’t be done.”
He described the death of Shabalala as a great loss to the genre, which was looked down upon before they propped it up.
“His was not like just a crafted and rehearsed artistic presentation, but a calling,” Moyo said.
“One would just understand where he was without hearing a single word in his language.
“Shabalala walked his path well and has pioneered the respect for Imbube music.”