LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO have done it with this, their first long playing record called "AMABUTHO! "
"AMABUTHO" means "WARRIORS" in Zulu, and in this "sicathamiya" type singing, popularly called "Cothoza nfana" these days, they bring to their many listeners the best in this kind of music.
Among the many groups that sing this type of music the LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO have, within a short time, proved to be the best in this field. For this music is not only popular, but very old indeed. Now that the LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO have brought it back with an impact, their music will never be forgotten.
I have often traced this music in the blues songs of America and cannot help feeling that the claim that music came from Africa is true. This group, under the leadership of Joseph Shabalala, will never fail therefore.
Listen to the second track on side one, "ISIGCINO", which means "The end", in which Joseph Shabalala leads his group with his golden voice. The lyrics remind all men that women are to be treated with care, for that is the golden rule governing all marriages. The tune is very compelling and makes good listening and is bound to appeal to everybody.
On side two they have "NOMATHENJWA". Nomathenjwa is the girl friend who never replied to all the love letters that Joseph wrote, so he decided to leave his home town of Ladysmith for Durban with the hope of finding her, which he never did. In fact when he sang this song at the S.A.B.C, he was still trying to find her, but Nomathenjwa was nowhere to be found. The tune alone is enough to make one shed a tear because the words are sad and romantic at the same time.
Choral music always makes pleasant listening, and when a choir like the LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO sing their songs with the harmonic grace that only they have, then we can only say "HERE IS A LONG-AWAITED RECORD".
Joseph Shabalala was born in Ladysmith. As soon as he was old enough to appreciate music he began to take an interest in his father's "MBUBE" choir and this led him to strive to lead his own choir.
Joseph went to Durban soon after leaving school and there joined the Highlanders. This group used to sing in houses and not in halls, which is a wonderful asset in any musician, who must strive to perfect the art of singing before spreading out wings to grab money. This was about 1967, but this beautiful experience did not last long as the Highlanders disbanded soon afterwards.
It was at this stage that Joseph called his brothers and cousins from Ladysmith to join him in Durban, and the Ladysmith Black Mambazo was born!
Their first recording was with the S.A.B.C. Durban, where they recorded their first and successful "NOMATHENJWA". It was from this transcription that our West Nkosi heard them and recruited them for commercial recording in our studios. He brought them to the studios and this record, "AMABUTHO", is the result.
It is their very first long playing record on the market and we hope many more will come.
Everyone of the songs sung on this album have been composed by Joseph Shabalala.
LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO is composed of: JOSEPH SHABALALA, HEADMAN SHABALALA, ENOCH SHABALALA, MILTON MAZIBUKO, ALBERT MAZIBUKO, JOSEPH MAZIBUKO, WALTER MALINGA.
Back notes by: SAM R.MAILE
Compiled by WEST NKOSI
LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO
What more can be said about Ladysmith Black Mambazo?
Other than Amabutho is their first full-length album recorded in 1973. An amazing find, with five other very early LBM albums, at Other Music in New York City a few years back, way before this archiving project came into being. Whoever had the LPs before, purchased them from Rashid Vally's Kohinoor Store in Johannesburg and kept them in pristine condition.
Check out LMB's website here.