As Joseph Shabalala said when he was talking about recording Shaka Zulu, "Umcolo uthokozisa abadabukileyo." This means, "singing makes all the sad people happy because it is the voice of happiness." It also means that he was overjoyed to have been able to record his first U.S. release which was produced by his good friend, Paul Simon. It was 1987, and after recording twenty five records in Africa his musical message was finally becoming international. That message was, and is today, take pride in your heritage, create joy in your life and embrace all people.
The strength of the message and the beauty of its musical transmission was reason for Shaka Zulu being awarded a Grammy in 1987 for Best Traditional Folk Recording. It also marks the beginning of Joseph's habit of writing some songs in English in order to make his music more accessible to our very different culture. This is a great recording for introducing new listeners to Ladysmith's music.