by The Soweto Gospel ChoirThe Soweto Gospel Choir


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South Africa's Soweto Gospel Choir went through some difficult times in 2009. Guitarist Joshua Mcineka, to whom the album is dedicated, passed away before these recording sessions were to begin; and just before Christmas, a month before the album's release, its co-founder and musical director David Mulovhedzi succumbed to cancer. The music contained here, however, is still full of celebration and joy. On its fifth album for Shanachie, the Soweto Gospel Choir expands its musical reach outside its homeland and even the church, and in turn offers musical examples of the various meanings of the word "grace." On this 19-track collection, the group sticks close to its traditions on most songs, writing and performing original ones, as well as interpreting many traditional ones in their unique way in six of South Africa's official languages. In addition, they reach into the secular world with a radical reinterpretation of Paul Simon's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" that lends the song a far deeper, wider-ranging shade of meaning. They also reach into the classical canon by using a Mozart lieder to create a new song entitled "Prayer for South Africa." As is their wont, different soloists are featured on each tune, with musical accompaniment backing them for about half the album, while the other half is devoted to songs performed a cappella with drums. Standouts include the glorious readings of the traditional "O'Nkosi Yam," and "Ngahlulele." The Roman Catholic and American gospel traditions are represented by "Ave Maria," and "Oh! It Is Jesus," respectively. The choir also takes on an old Ocean song "Put Your Hand in the Hand" and places it in a medley with "Joy, Peace and Happiness" and "What a Mighty God," and manages to transform the entire mess into a gorgeous new entity with their soul-drenched harmonies and a single hand drum. For those who might be put off by the familiar tunes and are cynical enough to think this a gimmick, there is no need to worry: each standard has been transformed by the elegance and innovative spirit of the mighty Choir; they have in turn imbued each of these songs with a grace that is at once both human and seemingly divine. - Thom Jurek

Product Details

Release Date: 01/26/2010
Label: Shanachie
UPC: 0016351664327
catalogNumber: 66043
Rank: 17922

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Soweto Gospel Choir   Primary Artist
Sibongile Makgathe   Soloist
Kevin Williams   Guitar
Sipho Ngcamu   Percussion
Mxolisi Sithole   Percussion
Mandla Modawu   Drums,Soloist
Vusimuzi Shabalala   Keyboards,Choir Director,Soloist
Velile Msimango   Percussion
Diniloxolo Ndlakuse   Keyboards,Choir Director,Soloist
Buti Mosia   Soloist
Bongani Ncube   Bass Guitar
Bongani Khumalo   Soloist
Anne Masina   Soloist
Jeff Nomvete   Saxophone
Jatulife Dladla   Soloist
Zanele Ngcano   Soloist
Zanele Ngcamu   Soloist
Vusumuzi Madondo   Soloist
Victor Makhathini   Soloist
Tshepo Maitisa   Percussion
Sipokazi Nxumalo   Soloist
Shimmy Jiyane   Soloist
Rebecca Nyamane   Soloist
Philisiwe Faya   Soloist
Nkosinathi Hadebe   Soloist
Matshepo Chapole   Soloist
Mary Motselele   Soloist
Lungisani Mhlongo   Soloist
Linda Nxumalo   Soloist

Technical Credits

Paul Simon   Composer
Robin Hogarth   Producer,Liner Notes
David B. Mulovhedzi   Musical Director
Traditional   Composer
Zwai Bala   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Musical Director
Beverly Bryer   Director,Executive Producer
Lucas Bok   Musical Director
G. McLellan   Composer
M. Dawson   Arranger
A. Crouch   Composer
Richard Mitchell   Engineer
Fikle Sidumo   Arranger
B. Payne   Composer
Philisiwe Faya   Arranger
Mokete Mohapi   Cover Design

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