by Kyle Long
March 9, 2012
Carmel’s Palladium will host the Grammy award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir.
The 26-member choir has earned international acclaim for their uplifting performances, which feature an intoxicating blend of rhythm and voice.
The choir’s repertoire draws from a variety of sources, including Christian gospel hymns, traditional South African song and international pop music, from Bob Marley to Bob Dylan.
NUVO spoke with Soweto’s choir master and choreographer Shimmy Jiyane.
NUVO: Can you tell us about your current tour?
Shimmy Jiyane: This is an eleven week tour, where we will travel all over the United States and Canada.
We present a mix of contemporary and traditional music from South Africa, sung in six different native languages, including Zulu, Sotho and many others.
Our aim is to bring joy and happiness to the people who come to our performances. The audience always leave singing and dancing with huge smiles on their faces.
NUVO: How is the group’s repertoire selected?
Shimmy Jiyane: Our repertoire has evolved over the years, with the choir director choosing the songs or members of the choir suggesting songs at rehearsals. Audiences have their favorites and we try to have a few of those, plus we add new songs for each tour.
We like to mix the contemporary with traditional, so the audience will know where we have come from and where the new South Africa is heading.
NUVO: The choir has worked with a diverse range of music stars, from Robert Plant to Celine Dion. Do you have a favorite memory from any of these collaborations?
Shimmy Jiyane: Yes, when we did a track for the World Cup with Bono and U2. It was a beautiful collaboration. Both groups meshed together beautifully for the song.