December 15 2010
By Thandiwe Jumo
Through Grace, the Soweto Gospel Choir is confident that it will walk away with its third Grammy at the award ceremony next year. The popular gospel outfit’s fifth album Grace has been nominated in the Best Traditional World Music category.
The choir won its first Grammy in 2007 for its album Blessed. It won its second award the following year for African Spirit.
“We tour for about nine months a year, we sing in a variety of languages and combinations and we get a lot of recognition overseas.
“Sometimes when we are performing in Zulu in Europe, people seem to be moved by our music. It is like they understand what we are saying but it’s really God’s spirit moving through us that is impacting their lives because it is universal,” said the choir’s musical director Milton Ndlakuse.
Grace is a bittersweet offering from the group as it is a dedication to the choir’s late guitarist Joshua Mcineka, who died last year. It is also the last memory of the choir’s co-founder and musical director David Mulovhedzi who lost his battle with cancer last year.
“We worked hard on the album, even after the setbacks, and we came up with something unique. It took us three months to put it together.
“We had a lot of ideas and combinations which presented a challenge. We are lucky to have worked with producers Robin Hogarth and Zwai Bala on the album. They understand our style and our vision which is very inspiring,” Ndlakuse said.
The choir continues to fly the South African flag in the international realms and boasts of working with renowned artists such as Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder and John Legend to name a few.
Even their collaboration with Peter Gabriel on Down to earth, the closing track of Pixars animated movie Wall-E, still has people raving.
However, for the choir it’s the collaborations that they do back home that mean the most.
The latest is their diabetes awareness track I Choose to Live which they did with kwaito artist Howza, who is diabetic, and Omen.
“Howza and Omen came up with the concept and asked us to come up with the harmonies. They wanted the song to have a choir feel.
“Working with Howza has been an interesting experience because it’s his story and we ventured into a different genre as a choir. These are the experiences that make the choir grow stronger,” Ndlakuse said.
The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards will take place in Los Angeles at the Staples Centre on February 13.- Tonight