Interview: Africa's Most Prominent Soweto Gospel Choir showcases South Africa’s Heavenly Voices – Dewordz - Christian Hip-Hop Blog |Most Trusted CHH Blog

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Monday, December 24, 2018

Interview: Africa's Most Prominent Soweto Gospel Choir showcases South Africa’s Heavenly Voices – Dewordz


The world-renowned Soweto Gospel Choir has a strong, indisputable tagline on its official website: “South Africa’s most heavenly voices.” It’s extremely tough to argue with that statement given the group’s many successes, awards and global tours.
The singers in the choir recently wrapped up their tour of North America, playing in performing arts centers and theaters across the nation. With each performance, the group brings its celebration of gospel music and the musical history of South Africa.
Almost right from the beginning in 2002, the choir has earned acclaim. Their first recording, Voices of Heaven, reached No. 1 on Billboard’s World Music Chart. Their second recording, Blessed, won a Grammy Award and further cemented their international status.
Over the years, the Soweto Gospel Choir has played for a number of dignitaries, including Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and U.S. presidents. They’ve graced the stage of the Oscars and SAMAs (South African Music Awards). This year saw the group perform with Chance the Rapper for his sold-out concerts in Johannesburg.
Recently, Hollywood Soapbox exchanged emails with Shimmy Jiyane, who has many hats with the choir. In addition to being a founding member, he is a choreographer, choirmaster, tenor and dancer for the group. He has made music with some greats, including Tina Turner and Vicki Samson. Questions and answers have been slightly edited for style.
How long have you been with Soweto Gospel Choir?
I’ve been with the choir for 17 years, and I am a founding member.
What do you find inspiring about this choir?
What I find inspiring about this choir is the music that the choir is doing and also the way we celebrate our heritage with all the different cultures and faiths we have in South Africa!
What’s the rehearsal process like for the choir?
We rehearse four times a week, Monday to Friday, four hours a day.
What can audiences expect from your upcoming performances?
They must expect a very exciting and energetic show from the choir along with the beautiful music that comes from South Africa accompanied by great dancers and drummers! We will be taking them on a journey through the history of South Africa and also a celebration of Nelson Mandela’s 100 centenary. ViVa.
When did you first realize that music would be a lifelong passion?
I realized it when I first started with the choir. Traveling and singing for the world just confirmed it!
How does one get selected to be a choirmaster?
It’s through one’s experience and passion for music; commitment is definitely a plus.
The Soweto Gospel Choir continues to tour the world. They are currently bringing their music to Holland. Click here for more information and tickets.
Written and Edited By John Soltes / Publisher

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