Mbube (genre)  

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Mbube is a form of South African vocal music, made famous by the South African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The word mbube means "lion" in Zulu. Traditionally performed a cappella, the style is sung in a powerful and loud way (see Mbube Roots, Rounder Records CD 5025). The members of the group are male, although quite a few groups often have a female singer (On Tiptoe: Gentle Steps to Freedom). However, since the formation of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the style has fallen in favour of softer singing, which is known as isicathamiya.

The style itself dates, according to Joseph Shabalala (leader and founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo), to the times when young South African Zulu men left their families to travel to the major cities to find work — often in mines. In order to preserve a sense of community, these young men would form choirs and perform Mbube music.

The style is named after the song "Mbube" written in 1939 by Solomon Linda. The song was later made famous internationally by The Weavers as "Wimoweh" in 1948 and then as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by the Tokens in 1961.

The style is still popular within South Africa. Current groups singing in this style include Amaryoni.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Mbube (genre)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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