This post has been updated. See note below for details.
Pop & Hiss is premiering “No More Sorrow,” a track from the forthcoming album by South Africa’s venerated vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a collection that’s especially close to the heart of group founder and leader Joseph Shabalala.
The album, “Always With Us,” is scheduled for release Jan. 15 and is dedicated to Shabalala’s wife, Nellie, who was shot and killed in 2002 by a masked gunman outside their home in Durban.
Shabalala took tracks she had recorded with her ensemble, Women of Mambazo, which was formed at the township church she and her husband founded, and arranged his group’s vocals around them to wed the two groups’ music.
“The album comes from deep inside my heart,” Shabalala said in a statement with the announcement of “Always With Us.” “It might be more personal than anything we have shared with the world before.”
“It was important for us not just to record these songs, but to create beautiful music,” he said. “From the first day we worked with Nellie’s recordings to the final day when we knew we were finished, our primary objective was to make a collection of beautiful songs.”
“No More Sorrow” closes the 10-song collection. It is the only song sung completely in English. As in the other tracks, there are both blending and call-and-response sections between the voices of Women of Mambazo and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Shabalala’s group, whose career spans more than 50 years and which came to broad international recognition through its prominence on Paul Simon’s Grammy-winning 1986 album “Graceland,” is set to return to the U.S. for a two-month tour that begins Jan. 24 in Germantown, Tenn., and continues through March 23 in Sarasota, Fla. Two Southland stops are scheduled for Feb. 28 in Santa Clarita and March 1 in Pasadena at Beckman Auditorium.
“In Zulu, we have a phrase, ‘Uyohlale Unathi,’ which means ‘someone who is no longer with us in body but stays with us in spirit’, said Albert Mazibuko, a member of Ladsymith since 1969, who noted that Nellie Shabalala “was not just Joseph’s wife. She was a mother, sister-in-law or cousin to every member of the group. … Singing with Nellie on these songs gave us peace and allows us to honor her life.”
Listen to "No More Sorrow" here:
Update at 10:17 a.m.: An earlier version of this post said Nellie Shabalala was killed outside her home near Cape Town. The home is in Durban. It also referred to "Always With Us" as a 12-song album. The album contains 10 songs.
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