26 January 2003
The 32-member Soweto Gospel Choir from South Africa celebrates its rich cultural heritage with a powerful spiritual message.
“By tradition, African people are very God-fearing and this is expressed in our music,” says choirmaster, Soweto-born David Mulovhedzi, who is bringing his troupe to Australia for the first time.
“Our African gospel repertoire will be accompanied by African drums, while our selection of American gospel including Amazing Grace, Ride on Moses and many more will have a five-piece band with drums, two guitarists and a keyboard player.”
Mulovhedzi was born into a Venda family, Venda being one of the 11 languages spoken in South Africa, and has always been involved with the church.
He is a respected member of the Holy Jerusalem Evangelical church and has hosted musical entertainments for such notables as Nelson Mandela and a Saudi Arabian prince.
“I started singing at school and was trained to be a choirmaster at Sunday school,” he said.
“I was able to organise several choirs from different churches and we sang the praises of the Lord every Saturday and Sunday.
“I believe I have a calling to the church and gospel song.”
Mulovhedzi has worked with some of South Africa’s greatest artists, including Dave Hewitt on his African Tapestry and Story Teller album, Edmondo’s Best of Music Alcarte and the Rev Chawane’s Afro-American Gospel Collection.
Mulovhedzi’s hand-picked Soweto Gospel Choir has also performed with US gospel leader the Rev James Cleveland during his South African tour when he shared the stage with the legendary group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
“The 32 singers in the choir coming to Australia are mainly from Soweto and their ages range from 18 to 30,” Mulovhedzi said.
“My son Mulalo, 23, and daughter Sarah, 25, are members. My wife used to sing with us but has `retired’.”
The Soweto Gospel Choir and its dedicated conductor want to uplift the soul and express South Africa’s great hopes for the future.