The Choir took part in NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert this past February during their North American tour.
Below is footage from this concert, where they sang Seteng Sediba, Emarabini, Yelele and Kae le Kae.
Today in “They Pay Us To Do This”: a performance by South Africa’s Soweto Gospel Choir, which managed to tie the all-time record for most musicians squashed behind Bob Boilen’s desk for a single performance in the NPR Music offices. (They join the early-music a cappella ensemble Stile Antico, also with 12, though Soweto Gospel Choir threw in percussion in the form of a lone djembe.) To watch and sway along was to be blasted with some sort of ray gun that shoots beams of joy and hope.
Singing in a number of South African languages, as well as English, Soweto Gospel Choir fuses the praise music of many Christian cultures, with nods to traditional African songs of celebration — complete with occasional clicks and bird songs. Taken as a whole, the group’s music positively radiates warmth of spirit, not to mention motion: For as beautifully as these 12 voices blend, the rhythms are what really keep the mixture vibrant and alive. Here’s hoping you get a full sense of what it was like to become enveloped in these songs live, because being there was special.