Documentary about Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala wins international festival

  • The documentary about Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala and the multi-Grammy award-winning singing group won 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, with whom he worked.

The documentary on the founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo Joseph Chabalala and the multi-grammy award-winning singing group won second prize in the best music and dance film category at the Art & Tur film festival in Ourém, Portugal.

According to a press release, Music is my life – Joseph Shabalala and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, shot over five years, was selected from 87 films and shortlisted from 281 promotional and documentary films from 32 countries. It took second place after the evaluation of the shortlisted films by an international jury made up of film experts from 19 countries, who reflected on the topics covered in the films during 13 thematic sessions.

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

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

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

According to the statement, the documentary tells how Chabalala (1940 – 2020) and the band rose to fame after contributing Paul Simon graceland album. It covers Shabalala’s life, from his early years to the height of his worldwide success and his death.

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“Along with footage from the Graceland recording sessions, the film introduces us to many personalities who have 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 it helped expand in terms of the political and musical forces that helped shape it.”

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