Entertainment & Arts

Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder to step aside

Joseph Shabalala Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Joseph Shabalala formed Ladysmith Black Mambazo 50 years ago

The founder of South African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo is to take a back seat at the age of 73, their manager has announced.

Joseph Shabalala, who performed at a memorial concert for Nelson Mandela last month, will "enjoy the fruits of his hard work".

He will not take part in the choral groups's forthcoming three-month tour.

The group shot to fame when they recorded the Graceland album with Paul Simon in 1986.

They have won three Grammys and are nominated for a fourth at Sunday's ceremony in the US, for their album Singing For Peace Around the World.

Shabalala will stay at home in South Africa.

Ladysmith's manager Xolani Majozi said: "Because of his age we want him to relax a bit, not to be involved in intensive tours.

"He can still perform, but we don't want to overwork him. We think he has done his part," he added.

A number of Shabalala's sons continue to perform in the 12-strong group, along with one of his grandsons.

The former farm worker is said to have founded the group in the 1960s after a series of dreams and began performing at weddings and a number of local functions.

He began his singing career at the age of 25.

Ladysmith's work with Paul Simon sparked further international success, including work with a number of artists including Dolly Parton, Michael Jackson and Melissa Etheridge.

They performed a version of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot for the 1995 Rugby World Cup which reached 15 in the UK chart.

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