Soweto Gospel Choir: A Global Music Group
Through singing, dancing, and music, the Soweto Gospel Choir celebrates all the power of African and international gospel music. Formed by 43 of the most talented choristers from churches in South Africa’s Soweto region and directed by Beverly Bryer, the group thrills audiences with rhythms that are as exhilarating as they are inspiring.
Aside from the richness of its voices and harmonies, the choir enchants audiences with bright costumes, energetic dancing, and the talent of its musicians and percussionists. Its repertoire includes as many traditional pieces as contemporary ones, sung in 6 of the 11 official languages of South Africa, including English.
Since its creation in 2002, the Soweto Gospel Choir has achieved success after success. Three weeks after its release in the United States, the choir’s first album, Voices of Heaven, climbed to the top of Billboard Magazine’s World Music chart. The gospel choir continued its meteoric rise the following year, earning a Helpmann Award (Australia), an American Gospel Music Award, and a Gospel Music Award (United States). Since then, it has won a host of other awards, including one Emmy and two Grammys.
The group has brought its talent, joy, and enthusiastic faith to some of the greatest stages in the world, including Carnegie Hall in New York, the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Festival Hall in London, and the Nelson Mandela Theatre in Johannesburg. Among its many appearances, the choir has performed at the FIFA opening concert in Soweto in 2010, Nelson Mandela’s funeral in 2013, and the 75th and 80th birthday celebrations of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the choir’s patron.
In addition to Voices of Heaven, the Soweto Gospel Choir has produced four critically acclaimed albums that have won many awards: Blessed (2005), African Spirit (2006), Grace (2010), and Divine Decade (2013) in honor of the group’s 10-year anniversary. Several distinguished invited musicians took part in the creation of the most recent opus, including Johnny Clegg, Zahara, Elvis Blue, Paul Ruske, Robert Plant, and U2. Along their journey, the choir has lent its talents to renowned artists like Céline Dion, Mariah Carey, Peter Gabriel, Josh Groban, and gospel music legends Bebe Winans and Kirk Franklin.
In three clicks:
Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen, revisited by the Soweto Gospel Choir
The Soweto Gospel Choir and U2 in Magnificent for the FIFA World Cup in 2010
The Soweto Gospel Choir interprets the Sarah McLachlan classic, Arms of an Angel