By Craig Cook
The Adelaide Advertiser
February 22, 2017
Music ****RCC — Panama Club, March 19
VIBRANT, exuberant and colourful, the Soweto Gospel Choir, with a reputation as the world’s most acclaimed choir, delivers a performance of high energy vocal gymnastics.
Each of South Africa’s 11 official languages, including the crazy tonal ‘click’ language of Xhosa, gets a run in a diverse repertoire of African gospel, Negro spirituals, reggae and mainstream classics.
A town in the mining belt of Johannesburg with a 98 per cent black population, Soweto, is not an African name to make your heart sing but an acronym for ‘South West Township’, and the anti-apartheid struggle that inspired the choir’s creation is evident in several emotional and mournful freedom songs.
Other more toe-tapping numbers from the troupe of 16 generated the urge to dance among the enthusiastic audience of 300 that finally stood to groove to James Brown’s I Feel Good.
But an anticlimactic encore of Leonard Cohen’s done-to-death Hallelujah saw them sit straight back down again.
The moment was a metaphor for the night that reached all the anticipated heights coupled with a couple of flat spots.