Zulu Music

The singing styles of the Zulu people and their Nguni heritage are worthy of special mention. As in much of Africa, music is highly regarded, enabling the communication of emotions and situations which could not be achieved by merely talking.

Zulu music incorporates rhythm, melody and harmony – the latter is usually dominant and known as ‘isigubudu’ (which can be translated as converging horns on a beast, with tips touching – an inward spiral that reflects inner feelings).

Zulu music has also been carried worldwide, often by white musicians using Zulu backing singers, or performing songs by Zulu composers. Examples of the former are Paul Simon and South African Johnny Clegg. Examples of the latter are the song Wimoweh written by Zulu musician Solomon Linda, and several tunes on the first album by Bow Wow Wow. In these cases the original Zulu musicians went largely unidentified and uncompensated by the white musicians.

The internationally successful Zulu group Ladysmith Black Mambazo are among the artists who have made Zulu musical traditions known throughout the world. After contributing to Paul Simon’s Graceland album they toured the world with numerous stars and have received three Grammy Awards.

Nowadays, there are a lot of Zulu musicians performing various types of music such as Kwaito, Maskandi, Zulu House, and more.