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Documentary about Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala wins at international festival

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By News24.com

  • The documentary about Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala and the multi-Grammy-award winning singing group scooped the second prize at the Art & Tur film festival in Ourém, Portugal. 
  • Music Is My Life – Joseph Shabalala and Ladysmith Black Mambazo was selected from 87 films and shortlisted from 281 promotional and documentary films from 32 countries. 
  • It was shot over five years and includes artists like Dolly Parton and Stevie Wonder, whom he worked with. 

The documentary about Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala and the multi-Grammy-award winning singing group scooped the second prize in the best music and dance film category at the Art & Tur film festival in Ourém, Portugal.

According to a press statement, Music Is My Life – Joseph Shabalala and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, filmed over five years, was selected from 87 films and shortlisted from 281 promotional and documentary films from 32 countries.

It scooped the second spot after the shortlisted films were evaluated by an international jury consisting of film experts from 19 countries, who reflected on the topics covered in the films in 13 thematic sessions.

“It was a great honour to be able to travel to Famita, Portugal to receive the award for our film and for the support we received from the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission both while making this film and for entry our film into the festival,” its producer Carolyn Carew said in the statement.

Director Mpumi Supa Mbele said Shabalala’s achievements etched him among African musical superstars.

“Shabalala’s achievements place him in the pantheon of African musical superstars. This film takes viewers on his spiritual and emotional journey.”

Per the statement, the documentary tells the story of how Shabalala (1940 – 2020) and the group rose to fame after contributing to Paul Simon’s Graceland album. It covers Shabalala’s life, from his early years to the height of his global success and his death.

READ MORE| Ladysmith Black Mambazo on founder’s death: ‘Our Father left us today for eternal peace’

“Along with the footage from the Graceland recording sessions, the film introduces us to many of the luminaries who worked with Shabalala, including Dolly Parton and Stevie Wonder,” the statement continued.

“The film also documents the complex history of isicathamiya music – the musical idiom whose boundaries he helped to expand in terms of the political and musical forces that helped to form it.”