Joseph Shabalala has died

The great isicathamiya singer and Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala has died. He was 78. Serious, who have promoted Ladysmith in the UK for many years have posted this tribute: ''When Joseph formed the group that became Ladysmith …

Published: 12 Feb 2020. Updated: 3 months.

The great isicathamiya singer and Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala has died. He was 78. Serious, who have promoted Ladysmith in the UK for many years have posted this tribute:

''When Joseph formed the group that became Ladysmith Black Mambazo 60 years ago, he had a dream of a South Africa in harmony, and all his life he created great vocal music that came to speak to the whole world.

''Joseph retired in 2014 and handed leadership of Ladysmith Black Mambazo to his four sons Thulani, Msizi, Sibongiseni and Thamsanqa, who carry Joseph's song of a united South Africa into the future.

''We knew Joseph as a man of warmth and humour who loved his family and was always inspired by the music he and the group made.

''Later this week the group, who are currently on tour in the USA, will be announcing a British tour in June. This has been months in the planning, and today they have decided to go ahead with these concerts in order to celebrate the life and music of their father and founder Joseph Shabalala and to ensure his music lives on.''

Ladysmith's Amabutho becoming Africa’s first gold-selling album. Ladysmith Black Mambaso joined Paul Simon for Graceland and toured the globe. Shabalala co-wrote “Homeless” with Simon. Shaka Zulu won a Grammy in 1987 the first of several that the group won.

The Guardian reports that the South African government shared its condolences to the Shabalala family and paid tribute to him on Twitter, writing in Xhosa: “Ulale ngoxolo Tata ugqatso lwakho ulufezile” meaning ''Rest in peace, father, your race is complete.”

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Saleem Raman impresses

Last year one of the most congenial jazz spots that I managed to check out in a long while was a pub in Highgate, north London, called the Woodman where they host a weekly jazz night and I was blown away to hear Richard Bailey of Jeff Beck and Steve …

Published: 11 Feb 2020. Updated: 2 months.

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Last year one of the most congenial jazz spots that I managed to check out in a long while was a pub in Highgate, north London, called the Woodman where they host a weekly jazz night and I was blown away to hear Richard Bailey of Jeff Beck and Steve Winwood renown there, unassumingly slipping his Zildjians out of their covers as punters looked on oblivious to the fact that a drum titan was in their midst and who proceeded to show just what he is made of.

Last week I returned just briefly, too briefly alas to write or even think about a review, but enough time to make a quick mention for the benefit of any north London readers visiting the blog who might like to get down.

Sean Hargreaves, top left in the photo (with Bobby Quigley on guitar beside him and Chris Dodd on bass guitar) from that earlier occasion, on keys is still playing a blinder teasing the house trio along and taking plenty of meaty solos when the moment demands. It's just groove all night.

Lightning struck twice in the same place last week as another titan of a jazz drummer Saleem Raman was appearing.

With his back to the road, red London buses whizzing by behind him, more power to his elbow, Saleem has an incredible technique especially notable his seriously whipsmart right hand action that enables him to propel the sound along and means that he is able to change up a gear at ease while not mucking about with the essential warm soul-jazz and funk-leaning grooves ruling proceedings that he immerses himself in.

Usually you hear Raman upstairs at Ronnie's on Wednesday nights integral to the Andy Davies sound and at the heart of the best jam in town. Check the video for Saleem in action. He is in Robert Mitchell's new band TrueThink who we all will be hearing a lot more about later this year, something that is worth being aware of.

Stephen Graham

The Woodman sessions continue tonight. Free entrance. Features that rarity for a pub, table service, and the food's nice. Get down.