South African choral music is renowned for passionate singing and soul-stirring harmonies. The Soweto Gospel Choir is made up of top talent from throughout that hard-scrabble yet celebrated Township.
All sixteen tracks were seemingly recorded studio-live with no overdubbing or after-the-fact prettying-up. Paradise Road is led by a powerful pair of female voices who sing in English about walking hand-in-hand toward a place where there will be no more pain.
It is almost unbearably poignant. A ceremonial yet ecstatic version of “Amazing Grace” renews the power and grandeur of a seriously hackneyed hymn. The selections are either sung a cappella or accompanied by a guitar-led mbaqanga combo, plus drums, hand-clapping, stamping, exhortations, whistling ,and high-pitched ululations.
There is even a taste of sacred R&B and hip-hop! The lord being praised here is obviously a robust but loving realist; the voices are redolent of humanity in all its fragile, undying splendor.
- Jikela Emaweni
- Thina Simnqobile
- Paradise Road
- Ahuna Ya Yswanag Le Jesu/Kammatia
- Many Rivers to Cross/Going Down Jordan/Amen (Medley)
- Amazing Grace
- Thula Baba
- Holy City/Bayete (Medley)
- African Dream