Holland America Line’s 2014 Grand World Voyage is currently underway, and the Amsterdam cruise ship was recently sailing thru South African waters the past few days.
There were many special guests who boarded the ship during the South African portion–the biggest name being Archbishop Tutu. The Soweto Gospel Choir also boarded the ship; and performed for the cruise passengers a few times.
Below are some photos, excerpts and a video from the Choir’s performance!
From The Learning Curve Blog:
After dinner, the second treat of the day was the performance by the twenty-member Soweto Gospel Choir. (We later learned the choir is larger; only about half of them came on the ship.) All they’ve done in the last ten years is win two Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, South African Music Awards, and perform at the Oscars. They’ve been called “the world’s best choir,” and we had seats near the front row for their show.
Their set began with the thumping tribal rhythms of African music in a language we don’t understand, but the sound, movement, and color were entrancing. Before the show was over, they had favored us with harmonizations ranging from “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” to James Brown’s “I Feel Good.” They did “Amen” and “This Little Light of Mine,” but with lots of flourishes, and even some pretty vigorous dance steps. Bright smiles convinced us of their genuine pleasure in singing. After their first standing ovation, they did a joyous and powerful version of “Oh Happy Day” as an encore, and brought the house down.
Diane was so excited by it all that she went back for the ten o’clock show. This old man went to bed, but didn’t sleep for a long time for all the melodies and rhythms playing in my brain. What a day!
We rose early Sunday to be ready for the worship service conducted by Archbishop Tutu. The Anglican Eucharist liturgy was familiar from our years as members of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Corpus Christi, but the musical energy provided by the Soweto Gospel Choir was more like that at Unity Church of the Hills in Austin, only on steroids. Even the archbishop on the altar couldn’t restrain himself from dancing when the choir sang some of their numbers.