26 May 2006
South Wales Evening Post
The vibrant choral sound of the Rainbow Nation comes to Swansea next week in a performance guaranteed to lift the soul.
Formed to celebrate the powerful and inspirational tradition of African gospel music, the 26-member Soweto Gospel Choir is at Swansea Grand Theatre on Tuesday.
Drawing on the best musical talents from the many churches and communities in and around Soweto, the choir has launched many ordinary Africans on an international musical career.
Take choirmaster Lucas Bok, for example, who first auditioned as a bass guitarist four years ago.
“It has always been my dream to travel the world and especially to sing,” he said. “From the age of seven at school I always wanted to do that.
“We are away now nine months of the year, we are very seldom at home. But it makes us tighter as a choir, it is like a family.”
With sell-out concerts from the Sydney Opera House to the Carnegie Hall, a world music chart-topping first album, and the title of best gospel choir at the 2004 American Gospel Music Awards, the world has truly taken this remarkable group of inspirational singers to its heart.
Earthy rhythms, rich harmonies and charismatic performances combine to uplift the soul and celebrate the unique spirit of South Africa.
Highlights in the choir’s career have included singing for Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
They were guest artists for the Unite For The Stars celebration, singing alongside Diana Ross and Christina Aguilera.
“Singing for Nelson Mandela obviously meant a lot to us – and topping the charts, we didn’t expect to go that far,” said Lucas.
“The world out there has accepted our music but this is our first visit to Wales.
“Wherever we go one thing we try to do is capture the audience.
“The show is very colourful, with our costumes and dancing as well.”