19 May 2006
Western Morning News
The Soweto Gospel Choir were formed in 2002 to celebrate the unique and inspirational power of African Gospel Music. The 26-strong choir, chosen from the many churches in and around the South African township wanted to give the world another reason to know the name Soweto other than the riots of 1976.
The choir are on a mission to celebrate the spirit of modern South Africa.
Performing in six different languages including English, Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho, the choir’s rhythms, rich harmonies and charismatic performances combine to uplift the soul.
The choir are on their second tour of the UK and will perform in Torquay and Plymouth. Playing the role of narrator for the choir is Sipokazi Luzipo, who says they are delighted to be back in Britain.
“In 2002 we were so impressed with African music that we formed a choir to take us around the world,” she says.
“I can identify with the kind of traditional music we sing because I grew up singing gospel in a choir. It is wonderful to bring together diverse cultures and faiths.
“There are 11 official languages in South Africa and we sing in six of these. I think that’s the best way to reflect the South African sound. Music is a huge part of our lives in South Africa. The first part of the concert is traditional songs and I explain what they mean. Then we sing about everything that’s happened in the past and the last segment is songs of celebration.
“It’s great to watch the audiences when they come to see us. They seem introverted and then they become quite spirited, you can see it in their faces.
“There are songs full of joy. We look to the future with optimism. Our performing comes out of everything we’ve come through and it’s full of joy and energy.
“There is a better future, especially for the choir and each and every performance is honourable to the choir. We seize the day.”