Ladysmith Black Mambazo Timeline 2006 - 2008
Long Walk to Freedom, a celebration of 45 years together, was released by Ladysmith Black Mambazo on 24 January 2006. On the album (which also celebrated 20 years since Graceland), the group recorded with a multitude of artists including Zap Mama, Sarah McLachlan, Melissa Etheridge, Joe McBride, Natalie Merchant, Emmylou Harris, and Taj Mahal as well as South African musicians Lucky Dube, Phuzekhemisi, Bhekumuzi Luthuli, Nokukhanya, Thandiswa, Vusi Mahlasela and Hugh Masekela. Ladysmith Black Mambazo also expressed wishes to work with Paul Simon once more, twenty years on since Graceland.
To support the promotion of the album and tour, Mambazo appeared on various television and radio programmes throughout January and February 2006. The group has also started a street team; this is currently exclusive to fans in the US and Canada.
In April 2006, Mambazo collaborated with Josh Groban for his third studio album, Awake. The songs, "Weeping" and "Lullaby", featured a clear South African influence; lines from a Mambazo song, "Wangibambezela" ("Message from his Heart") were added to the backing track of "Weeping". Following this, in August 2006, Mambazo began working with Mavis Staples in a collaboration for Staples's new album. Whilst Mambazo toured the United States, the television program Saturday Night Live parodied the group in a TV Funhouse sketch, hosted by Dennis Haysbert, about failed Saturday morning cartoons starring black cartoon characters, one of which was a cartoon featuring the group called, Ladysmith Black Mambazo in Outer Space. Members of the group added commentary to the short for the DVD release of the SNL special, "The Best of TV Funhouse".
On October 17, 2006, Ladysmith Black Mambazo performed a special concert, Long Walk to Freedom: An Evening with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The night included special guest appearances by Sarah McLachlan, Natalie Merchant, Mahotella Queens, Vusi Mahlasela, and Pete Seeger. In preparation for the show, the Mahotella Queens performed a special a cappella concert the previous night (October 16) in New York.
For Bob Sinclar's third Africanism mix album, a sampled version of Ladysmith Black Mambazo's song "Isala Kutshelwa" (1985) was used in the song "Steel Storm". Ladysmith Black Mambazo was again nominated for two Grammy Awards in the 49th Annual Grammy Awards in 2007, for their album Long Walk to Freedom. The album was nominated in the categories Best Contemporary World Music Album and Best Surround Sound Production, but did not win.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo's 2007 album, Ilembe, was released on February 26, 2007. It was released in South Africa initially, and issued in the United Kingdom on the Warner Jazz label on April 2, 2007 (under the title Ilembe - Our Tribute to King Shaka). The album featured new recordings such as "Ommu Beno Mmu" ("Somebody And Somebody"), "Sizobalanda" ("We Are Here") and "Iphel' Emasini" ("A Cockroach In The Milk" - Zulu proverb). The album was released in the United States on January 22, 2008, under the title Ilembe: Honoring Shaka Zulu.