14 Shabalala – Maskandi Magic  the Bergville’s Meandering Maskandi with his 5 String Nylon strung guitar and 12 hidden history tunes, re-issued. Includes his seminal 1990 tribute to Nelson Mandela – Like Moses he lead the children out of Pharaoh’s land sings 14 – Zulu Lyrics translated into English with notes and photos from the CD sleeve

Biog notes, with English interpretations of 14’s lyrics, courtesy of Muule Joyce Mtembu – Harrismith Marketing Bureau 13th October 2000:

Mlahleni James “14” Shabalala was born on a farm called Mantosi. The farm is situated in Drakensberg area, 25km away from Bergville. James was given the name 14 by his grandmother, because he was abandoned by his mother when he was 14 days old.

He grew up on the Bergville farm, and acquired a love for music when he was very young. He was never educated and he went to look for jobs in Johannesburg. In 1981 he bought his first guitar and started singing songs about his people. While in Johannesburg he met well known musicians like Blondie Makhene and Brenda Fassie who told him to go back to KwaZulu-Natal if he wanted to be a successful Maskandi musician.

Bhodloza (Welcome) Mzimande from Radio uKhozi (in Durban) made it possible for him to perform in the 1989 Maskanda competition, held at the University of Natal. He won, and the prize was a recording with 3rd Ear Music who promoted and booked him at many festivals; but because of politics and favouritism in the record industry, his music has not been heard like it was generally expected it to be. 14 Shabalala performs in many events and has written many new songs which he feels need to be recorded.
(Joyce Mtembu)