Wednesday 26th September 2018,
Soweto Gospel Fans

Soweto Gospel Choir (review)

By Kym Clayton
The Barefood Review
February 28, 2018

Not religious? Well don’t let that put you off seeing this high-energy display of joy and unbridled happiness that is completely infectious. You’ll leave with an aching face because you smiled so much.

The show is non-stop singing in a range of African languages, and some English, with a loose narrative that honours the life of the late and great Nelson Mandela. That most of the songs are not in English adds to the enjoyment – once is forced to concentrate on the hypnotic rhythms that are set by the African drumming and picked up by the chorus through their almost perfectly synchronised body movement and hand clapping. One also concentrates on the perfect and heartfelt smiles as the beautifully harmonised singing washes and soothes and then excites your inner being.

The show finished with Soweto’s take on the iconic Leonard Cohen secular hymn ‘Hallelujah’, and why not – there are scores and scores of various versions. Canadian singer k.d. lang famously once quipped she thought the song was about the “struggle between having human desire and searching for spiritual wisdom” which juxtaposes ‘Hallelujah’ nicely with an earlier song in the concert that was a humorous take on the eternal struggle of boy chasing girl and vice-versa.

A key message throughout the performance was that one’s present circumstances do not define one’s capabilities. There is always hope and a way forward, as Mandela himself showed.

This is a totally feel-good show from a group that was a hit at last year’s Fringe and deserves to be again this year.

4.5 stars

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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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