- 17 Sep 21
South African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo have become a vessel of South African cultural heritage through indigenous isicathamiya music.
South African singer-songwriter Jeremy Loops has teamed up with iconic choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo for a performance of new single 'This Town'.
The video came about after Jeremy grew up listening to the group, finding them to be a source of massive inspiration. Having been moved to tears when he first saw them live, Loops knew they were the outfit to collaborate with in his future. On, 'This Town', Loops and the Grammy-winning singing troupe chant in their mother tongue that "music is life".
Featuring interspersed black-and-white footage and colourful clips of the band interacting with Loops as they perform, the track explored a love for your home city. Full of gorgeous harmonies, which LBM have now earned deserved fame for; the pairing create a warm, up-tempo song for the ages. Searching for someone who can save you, the town gives them patience and eases the burden. "This city has my heart and I've been waiting".
Ladysmith Black Mambazo (LBM) have garnered a worldwide reputation for performing in the local vocal styles of isicathamiya and mbube. The first incarnation of the band was "Ezimnyama" ("The Black Ones") - formed by Joseph Shabalala in December 1960. Shabalala organised LBM due to a series of dreams he experienced in 1964, in which he heard certain isicathamiya harmonies of the Zulu people. He later entered the group into isicathamiya competitions before they released their first album, Amabutho, in 1973.
LMB became known internationally after singing with Paul Simon on his 1986 album Graceland. In 1988, Ladysmith Black Mambazo won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Recording after releasing Shaka Zulu. 2004 saw their next win for Best Traditional World Music Album, with Raise Your Spirit Higher. In 2009, they repeated the same accolade with Ilembe: Honoring Shaka Zulu, while 2013 saw the outfit nab the Best World Music Album for Live: Singing for Peace Around the World. Their fifth and most recent win came about in 2018, where they earned the Best World Music Album again for Shaka Zulu Revisited: 30th Anniversary Celebration. Their most recent achievement was dedicated to the late Nelson Mandela.
Jeremy Loops, real name Jeremy Thomas Hewitt, is a singer-songwriter and record producer who co-founded the eco initiative Greenpop after working as a deckhand on superyachts over 10 years ago. Performing as an opening act at fundraisers for the initiative, Jeremy was emboldened by the crowd’s response and quickly quickly gained momentum. In 2011, Loops released his self-titled debut EP.
Over the past decade Jeremy has become a household name in South Africa, obtained a global record deal, headlined several world tours with sold-out performances in iconic venues, including London’s Brixton Academy, and collaborated with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Simone Felice (The Lumineers), Jake Gosling (Shawn Mendes), Tobias Kuhn (Milky Chance), and Carey Willets (Dermot Kennedy).
His debut album Trading Change was released March 2014 in South Africa, and America in 2015. Loops' Continental Drift headline tour of Europe took place in January 2016, ahead of Australia. In 2018, Loops released the album Critical as Water, which tackled the serious water shortage that the singer's home city, Cape Town, is facing.
Following a series of popular releases in 2020, amassing 15 million streams and over 5.5 million hits on YouTube, Loops returned with summery new single 'Postcards' on Decca Records in June 2021. His collaboration with Ladysmith Black Mambazo showcases his versatile ability to adapt to differing genres and musical styles.
Check out the vibrant video for 'This Town' below: