8 October 2004
Newsquest Media Group Newspapers
A receptive audience became more and more involved as the Soweto Gospel Choir produced an impassioned performance of gospel music, taken from traditional backgrounds of Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho and English.
Two dozen singers, wearing colourful dress based on South African designs, smiled happily, obviously delighted to impart the Christian message in song.
They had a natural harmony and rhythm, set against incessant drumming by two impressive experts whose illustrious performance was compelling.
Often vital phrases of songs and movements were repeated many times.
Most songs featured a solo singer drawn from within the choir or sometimes young athletic men moved very physically with the rhythm. Their choice of music included several songs of spiritual origin, Ride on Moses performed by eight men, and Going Down Jordan.
Other South African ones were Vuma and Thula Baba, a lovely lullaby, alongside more modern ones such as Come with me.
At times the entire company was throbbing simultaneously with pulsating, synchronised musical movement expressively choreographed. As Amazing Grace was sung, lights were lowered, and the choir, with four soloists, joined in a superb arrangement.
The audience was requested to stand for Nkosi Sikilele’iAfrica (South African National Anthem); the singers stood absolutely still and sang with immense meaning.
A standing ovation in recognition of the powerfully vibrant impact these superb singers had made drew several encores, until finally O Happy Day raised the roof!