3 August 2005
Gold Coast Sun
It has been a momentous year for the acclaimed Soweto Gospel Choir from South Africa.
In the past month, the choir has performed to a packed St Paul’s Cathedral for the City of London Festival and at Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s 50th wedding anniversary in Johannesburg.
It was at these anniversary celebrations that Nelson Mandela made his impassioned plea to the world about lifting third world debt and the event received international coverage.
The choir’s performances in Johannesburg were also the first since its sellout 39-concert debut tour of North America where it received rave reviews.
The New York Times lauded the Soweto Gospel Choir as `meticulous and unstoppable . . . spirited and spectacular’ while The Star described the voices as `electric and spine-tingling’.
The Herald Sun has described the choir as `sheer jubilation,earthy and unrestrained . . . the rhythm of life . . .’
Indeed, it is commonplace for the Soweto Gospel Choir to have its audiences dancing and singing in the aisles – their Australian tour, Blessed, which kicks off in Townsville this month, will surely be no exception.
The tour will take in nearly 20 venues and the choir will perform at the Gold Coast Arts Centre on Saturday.
Bookings are essential for this once-only performance.
“We’re looking forward to this tour – it will be our second visit to Australia,” choirmaster David Mulovhedzi said in an interview from Soweto.
“We were last in Australia in 2003 and the tour was a big success. All the venues were sold out and it was wonderful.
“This time, we have a new show and a new CD, Blessed, (also the title of an Australian Hillsong gospel album) was recorded to include a celebration of South Africa’s 10th anniversary of democracy.”
Blessed features traditional and modern gospel, inspirational songs written by the choir and international favourites with unique arrangements.
David said these songs and many more would be performed during the Blessed tour.
The Soweto Gospel Choir is made up of 34 members, the majority of whom live in Soweto.
Remaining members come from the cities of Durban and Port Elizabeth.
“Ages range from 18 to 30 and we have one or two singers who are over 30,” said David.
The choir was formed in November 2002 by David and Beverly Bryer, and is backed by Australian sponsors.
Since then, it has toured a number of times a year in different parts of the world. Countries visited include America, Germany, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
Choirmaster David is assisted by Lucas Bok, both of whom have a wealth of experience.
“I grew up singing gospel in my childhood and I’ve been singing in churches ever since,” said David.
“In 1996, I formed the Holy Jerusalem Choir, and we sang with other choirs and gospel groups in South Africa until we formed the Soweto Gospel Choir.”
David is married to Naomi and the couple has five children.
The choir has topped the US Billboard World Music Charts and won the Best Gospel Choir Award at the 2003 American Gospel Music Awards.
Its earthy rhythms, rich harmonies and charismatic performances combine to uplift the soul and celebrate the unique spirit of South Africa.
This is a Gold Coast Arts Centre event not to be missed.