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Soweto Gospel Choir Ready for New CD ‘HOPE” + North American Tour

Critically acclaimed South African world music sensations and three-time Grammy-winning Choir, Soweto Gospel Choir will release their highly anticipated first new recording in four years, HOPE, via Shanachie Entertainment on September 23, 2022, on the eve of their 53-city North American tour.

The diverse material on HOPE speaks to the extraordinary range and capabilities of Soweto Gospel Choir, which has scored them two #1 Billboard singles on the World Music Chart. Singing in English, as well as five of South Africa’s eleven official languages including Sotho, Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, and Tswana, Soweto Gospel Choir, creates a riveting tapestry of lush harmonies and glorious rhythms.

Jiyane shares, “It means a lot to the choir as South African artists coming from a township called Soweto to take the sounds of South Africa to the world.” The Choir rehearsed the music for HOPE at the Mofolo Arts Centre in Soweto located within eyesight of the route of a historic and tragic protest on July 16, 1976. 10,000 youth protesters joined forces to protest the forced teaching Afrikaans.

Jiyane explains, “Many school children died. The song “Mbayi Mbayi” which opens the album is one of the songs that was sung that day. It is a very personal song for us all but especially for people who live in Soweto. We all have families that died on that road. We have families who went out and joined the march and they never came back.”

HOPE also features a dazzling version of  Al Bell’s Stax classic sung by the Staple Singers “I’ll Take You There,” Stevie Wonder’s poignant “Heaven Help Us All” sung in English, Zulu, and Sotho and Hugh Masakela’s “Sechaba,” from the hit musical Sarafina! which premiered at the Cannes film festival in 1991.

A particularly breath-taking moment on HOPE occurs on the Xhosa hymn “Bawo Xa Ndilahlekayo,” which means “Lord if I get lost, please lead me back to you.”  The song is dedicated to the Choir’s beloved friend and leader, Mulalo Mulovhedzi who passed away in early 2022. Mulovhedzi was a founding member and the General Manager of the choir. This was his favorite hymn. “We deeply feel his loss and are touched whenever we now sing it. It is as if Mulalo were still with us, taking his place beside us,” collectively shares the Choir.

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