Polyphonic praise, South African style
BEAVER CREEK – Gospel stands out from most other forms of music in that its message is always constant. However its characteristics allow it to take many forms. The award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir’s energy and soulful harmonies will converge at the Vilar Center at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.The 25-member Soweto Gospel Choir catapulted to international fame as part of Nelson Mandela’s November 2003, 46664 Aids Benefit Concert in South Africa. The vocal ensemble later shared the stage with Bono, Queen, Peter Gabriel, Jimmy Cliff and the Eurythmics. They topped Billboard Magazine’s World Music chart and won Best Gospel Choir Award of 2003. “Nothing can really prepare you for the riot of exuberance and depth of emotion,” writes The Scotsman.
Performing in eight different languages in a program of tribal, traditional and popular African gospel music, the choir’s earthy rhythms, rich harmonies, a capella and charismatic performances combine to uplift the soul and express South Africa’s great hopes for the future. Drawing on the best talent from churches and communities in and around the Johannesburg township of Soweto, the choir began touring internationally in early 2003. In addition to traditional African gospel, the program includes “Amazing Grace,” “Paradise Road,” and music by Otis Redding and the reggae of Jimmy Cliff. The concert also features traditional dancers, drummers and a four-piece band. It made a North American debut in 2005, performing in 35 cities, and will return in 2006 to coincide with the release of its second CD, “Blessed.” The New York Times hailed their Carnegie Hall concert as a “cornucopia of remarkable voices: sharp, sweet, kindly, raspy and incantatory leads above a magnificently velvety blend.”Tickets to the Soweto Gospel Choir at the Vilar Center Sunday are $48. For more information, visit http://www.vilarcenter.org or call the box office at 845-TIXS (8497).
Spirited singingSoweto Gospel Choir7:30 p.m. Sunday
Vilar Center for the Arts in Beaver CreekTickets are $48For more information, visit http://www.vilarcenter.org or call the box office at 845-TIXS (8497).