Review By Michelle Fisher
Walking into the Cornucopia tent you immediately sense the vibe of this show from the colourful backdrops that adorn the stage. The choir comprised of 18 of the best artists in South Africa predominantly honour the freedom fighters and in particular their beloved Mandela (Madiba).
With their latest album “Freedom “having won a Grammy, the audience, including myself, were excited to see what was coming... and we weren’t disappointed.
Throughout the hour you occupy the tent, they offer a beautiful mix of native South African songs and popular bops in English. Throughout, the performance is uplifting and leaves the audience clapping, singing and even on their feet. They are so engaging you simply cannot help but want to get involved yourself.
The choir handled each song individually and with perfect execution with clear and tuneful vocals, some excellent drumming to give a powerful beat and some fun choreography. Their collective voices raised in song easily transported you to the African continent and for a glorious hour I found myself thinking of African sunsets across the desert plains, of the extraordinary men and women who fought against apartheid, and of the incredible man Nelson Mandela himself.
To pick a favourite from their repertoire would be hard. From songs such as the liberation medley JikiJela/Rolihlahla Madela to a truly sublime rendition in English of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, the audience was in raptures, fully invested and happy to be carried along with the colour, movement and general “ joy of being alive “ that exuded from these performers.
From the moment that you enter Gluttony and walk through the park to hit the Cornucopia tent, you are overwhelmed with excitement, with colour and, importantly, with choices. It's not called Mad March here for no reason! And yet amongst those choices I couldn't recommend an evening with the Soweto Gospel Choir highly enough. Their soulfulness, unique sound and true respect to their roots is all-encompassing and their sound is awe-inspiring.
With only a week of fringe left, don't miss the Choir before they leave Australia. You'll be sorry to have missed them!
Soweto Gospel Choir is performing at Gluttony every night except Mondays until March 15