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Soweto Gospel Fans

One on One with Soweto Gospel Choir Mandla Modawu

June 3, 2013The Afro News
by Honore Gbedze

Take us back to the beginning of the Soweto Gospel Choir and tell us how it all started?

Soweto Gospel Choir was formed when our executive producer/director and our late musical director were asked to form a gospel choir by our Australian promoters. They had a six week tour of Australia/New Zealand that they had booked for another choir, and when that choir was cancelled, SGC was to take over those dates. Auditions took place in Johannesburg in November 2002, our first album was recorded that December, and in March the following year, only three months after our formation, the choir toured Australia and New Zealand to capacity audiences and from there, the rest is history.

How has the Soweto Gospel Choir changed Africa and the world?

I think “SGC” has represented both South Africa and the rest of Africa in highlighting the wonderful talent we have on our continent and in being able to show the rest of the world, the beauty of African gospel and traditional music. Previously very little was known outside of Africa about our cultures and our music, so this is a change that “ SGC “has initiated and has led other up and coming artists in our country, to follow.

After much success and achievement around the world how do you describe the forces behind all this?

We thank God every day for giving us our talent and blessing us with this incredible journey. On a practical level, we have been lucky to have a very good management and touring team as well as professional and dedicated choir members. All these elements add up to the force behind our success.

This year marks SGC 10 years anniversary how is SGC celebrating this milestone?

A: We’ve recently released a new album celebrating our 10th anniversary, called Soweto Gospel Choir & Friends ¬ Divine Decade. We have collaborated with many top artists who we’ve either recorded with during this past decade or with whom we specifically went into the recording studio last year. Our œfriends¹ on this album include U2, Robert Plant, Zahara, Eric Wainaina (Kenya), Joepraize (Nigeria) Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Ladysmith Black Mambazo (South Africa), to name a few. We are also touring our 10th anniversary show to many parts of the world. We were recently in Australia, now it’s Canada, and later on in the year, the UK and Europe. So there is a big celebration going on!

 In this Anniversary celebration tour what awaits your audience in Canada?

Our concert repertoire will consist of many favourite songs that we’ve performed this past decade, as well as a few songs from our new album. As always, our audience can expect joyful singing, energetic dancing and drumming, and great upliftment from our show. We can’t wait to be in Canada ¬ especially in summer.

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About The Author

From the Great White North of Canada, Elaine is the owner and maintainer of SGF. Besides being a big-time Soweto Gospel Choir fan, she is passionate about world travel, technology, all sports and above all the great mangosteen fruit. Oh, and she can't sing to save her life...one love! :)

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