Tuesday 27th June 2017,
Soweto Gospel Fans

Soweto Gospel Choir at Maison symphonique – Bursts of Joy

July 7, 2013
Yves Bernard
Le Devoir

(the below is a rough English translation of the original review done in French)

It was like a balm on this sad day for Quebec. Soweto, arrived Saturday night one of the largest choirs in the country of choral singing. The shadow of Madiba, the father of the nation, hovering, but the time was not sadness. It was the outburst, the great joy and rejoicing total: in all, twenty singers and dancers with colourful costumes which were based in the community, in solo exchanged roles, shared duets were calling and the first lines of the biting edges, touching, sometimes moving to tears.

To accompany them, two percussionists and sometimes a piano, when we went to more traditional gospel. The repertoire of the Soweto Gospel Choir is also wide, consisting of both traditional and contemporary compositions from Africa or international pop and gospel standards. The group was also launched on its tenth anniversary and did not have their most recent titles.

The concert starts at the power with a female voice that seems to come from the depths of time. Community happens, launches in striking vocal harmonies while the two drummers beat time with fervor. We become more spiritual with five men in front of the stage, before attacking in unison and swinging. Everyone involved in almost all phases of the design and even the choir is used to shake their body before returning to blend into the group.  The dancers are spectacular Zulu warriors slapping in their gumboot. At times, they were engaged in acrobatics.

But in general, one is often stuck in this great tradition of South African mbube. A voice starts, the chorus responds, and then divides into two or three harmony parts while some members revive, the soloist can give to spread out an alter ego that no one knows where, as everyone moves.

It’s exciting, exuberant and sometimes very fragmented with little cries or screams very free and more clapping hands. This gives a voice carnival atmosphere punctuated by a few hymns or key pieces as Asibonanga that Johnny Clegg sang during the anti-apartheid struggle. They also delivered a freedom song dedicated to Nelson Mandela.

On the international front, we cannot miss Pata Pata by Miriam Makeba, the first African to have successfully beamed around the world. People wanted more. After the tribute to Miriam Makeba, the Choir did it again with Amen and Oh Happy Days. The day was made.

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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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