In Summary
  • In December, 2002 their first album, Voices of Heaven, was recorded and went on to reach number one on Billboard’s World Music Chart within three weeks of its release in the US.

  • Their first Grammy was in 2007 for their second album, Blessed, in the Best Traditional World Music category while the second was in the same category the following year for the album African Spirit.

  • Although the choir sings in six of South Africa’s 11 official languages, it reaches across all cultures, language barriers, and beliefs to bring a message of love, unity, and hope.

Multiple award-winning group, Soweto Gospel Choir, jetted into the country last week for their first East African performance at the Christ is Alive Ministries (CITAM) in Karen. The choir was formed in Soweto, South Africa, in 2002 by David Mulovhedzi and Beverly Bryer, two choir directors. The more than 30-member ensemble blends elements of African gospel, Negro spirituals, reggae and popular American music.

SIX LANGUAGES

Although the choir sings in six of South Africa’s 11 official languages, it reaches across all cultures, language barriers, and beliefs to bring a message of love, unity, and hope.

The first tour the choir ever did was to Australia, where every performance was sold out. After this, they did a month at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where presenters from around the world came to see them. This time in Edinburgh launched the band’s international touring career, and they have been travelling around the world ever since.

Popular for its colourful costumes, breathtaking vocals, performing energy and spirit, as well as their dancing and drumming, Soweto Gospel Choir has received many accolades which include, five Grammy nominations, three Grammy wins, one Emmy award, one Oscar nomination and so many more.

The group has performed for notable people including President Bill Clinton, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Nelson Mandela and Oprah Winfrey.

In December, 2002 their first album, Voices of Heaven, was recorded and went on to reach number one on Billboard’s World Music Chart within three weeks of its release in the US.

Their first Grammy was in 2007 for their second album, Blessed, in the Best Traditional World Music category while the second was in the same category the following year for the album African Spirit.

SH33 MILLION

Their third album Freedom, a 12-track tribute to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday, saw them being awarded their third Grammy Award earlier this year. The choir has also won an Oscar for their work with British star Peter Gabriel on the song Down to Earth from the movie Wall-E.

On top of their musical career, the Soweto Gospel Choir is an Ambassador for Nelson Mandela’s 46664 campaign that has seen them perform at the Cape Town, Johannesburg, London and New York concerts with artists such as Peter Gabriel, Bono, Queen, Jimmy Cliff, Johnny Clegg, Eddie Grant, Amy Winehouse, Queen Latifah, Wyclef Jean, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder.

They are also Ambassadors for SHOUT, 1 Goal, United Nation’s MDG Envoys for Africa and Interpol’s Proud to Be campaign.

Their AIDS orphans foundation, Nkosi’s Haven Vukani, assists organisations that receive little or no funding. To date, the choir has collected over Sh33 million for their foundation.

The Saturday Nation got the opportunity to talk to the choir’s director and producer, Beverly Bryer, ahead of their performance, where she shared their excitement, being in a new country, as well as their plans during the stay.

How has the experience and reception been since landing in Kenya?

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