South African choir, Gipsy Kings rake in world Grammys
South African traditional choir Ladysmith Black Mambazo and flamenco fusionists the Gipsy Kings, both longtime favorites a the Grammys, on Sunday shared the award for best world music album.
The Gipsy Kings were nominated for a record sixth time for the Grammy for best world music album but won the award for the first time with “Savor Flamenco.”
The album was the first completely written and produced by the Gipsy Kings, who come from southern France but trace their roots mostly to Spanish Roma culture.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo, whose rhythmic a cappella performances preserve the musical traditions of South Africa’s black mine workers, shared the Grammy for their live album “Singing for Peace Around the World.”
The choir dedicated the work to late anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela and promised to donate proceeds of the album purchased on the band’s website to the former president’s charity, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.
The Grammy was the fourth won by Ladysmith Black Mambazo on the band’s own.
The choir was thrust before a global audience in 1986 when it collaborated on Paul Simon’s groundbreaking Grammy-winning album “Graceland” and joined the US songwriter’s ensuing tour.
The other Grammy nominees for best world music album were “No Place for My Dream” by Femi Kuti, the Nigerian star and son of afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, and “The Living Room Sessions Part Two” by Indian-born sitarist Ravi Shankar, who recorded the album at his California home at age 91, a year before his death in 2012.
Had Shankar won, it would have been an unprecedented third Grammy for best world music album. Shankar already won the Grammy posthumously last year for “The Living Room Sessions Part One.”