/ 9 February 2009

Ladysmith Black Mambazo scoop world music Grammy

Ladysmith Black Mambazo won the best traditional world music album at the 2009 Grammy Awards on Sunday for their album Ilembe.

Locally the album won the Sama for the best traditional a cappella album in 2008.

Former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant received a “whole lotta love” at the ceremony, winning five prizes including album of the year for an acclaimed collaboration with bluegrass queen Alison Krauss.

The 60-year-old musician, enshrined in rock annals as the golden-haired, bare-chested singer for one of the biggest bands of the 1970s, was one of several British artists to take centre stage at the music industry’s top honours.

Other compatriots included rock band Coldplay, who won three awards, including song of the year, and 20-year-old rookie Adele, who was named best new artist.

R&B star Chris Brown inadvertently supplied some last-minute fireworks. The two-time nominee cancelled a scheduled performance amid reports that he was involved in a domestic-violence incident in the early hours of Sunday. His girlfriend, three-time nominee Rihanna, also scrapped her planned appearance.

Plant and Krauss (37) swept all five categories in which they were also nominated. They also won song of the year, and prizes in the pop, folk/Americana, and country categories.

“I’m bewildered,” Plant said upon winning album of the year, the event’s final prize. “In the old days, we would have called this selling out, but I think it’s a good way to spend a Sunday.”

Rapper Lil Wayne won four Grammys, including best rap album for Tha Carter III, the biggest-selling US release of 2008. He led the field with eight nominations in six categories.

Coldplay, which followed with seven nominations, ended up with three Grammys. They won song of the year for Viva La Vida, the chart-topping hit that inspired a plagiarism lawsuit from virtuoso guitarist Joe Satriani, who claims that it rips off one of his tunes.

Plant and Krauss’ Raising Sand, on which the odd couple reworked old folk ballads and R&B chestnuts, was an instant critical and commercial hit. Plant scuttled a much-rumoured Led Zeppelin reunion by opting to tour Europe and America with Krauss instead.

With 26 wins, Krauss now ties with French conductor Pierre Boulez as the third-most-honoured artist in the Grammys’ 51-year-history. The only artists ahead of her are late classical conductor Sir Georg Solti with 31, and prolific producer/composer Quincy Jones with 27.

Led Zeppelin were never honoured during their active years between 1968 and 1980, the year the band broke up following the death of drummer John Bonham. Plant’s sole wins to date were for a 1990s collaboration with former bandmate Jimmy Page and for a Raising Sand tune with Krauss last year.