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Soulful Soweto

Soweto Gospel Choir share South Africa’s journey from oppression to freedom in their new show, Freedom. These talented, soulful South Africans are heading to Darwin, fresh from winning a Grammy for Best World Music for their album of the same name.

Shimmy Jiyane was there when it all began back in 2002, and shares with Off The Leash the reasons why the choir had such a strong impact, no matter where in the world they perform.

Why was Soweto Gospel Choir formed?
We wanted to celebrate the heritage, cultures and faiths in our country, and the powerful voice and the talent South Africa has.

What is it about gospel music that speaks to you?
Music to me means a lot because it’s the message of good news, especially about Jesus and Christianity. In South Africa, gospel is something we grew up with – every Sunday we go to church with our mothers and grandmothers and pray. It means a lot to us and we’re grateful God is still looking after us.

Why do you think it resonates with audiences worldwide?
We go all over the world and get to see different people from different cultures embrace the music, even if they don’t understand what we’re saying. The music is food for the soul. They can understand the rhythm  and feel the beat – there’s so much love in the music. It’s important because it heals people; they come to our shows heartbroken and when they come out they’re refreshed and revived.

Are there any particular memories that stand out?
When we went on our first tour and it was in Australia, no one knew us at the time, and we performed at the Sydney Opera House and it was  sold out.

What can we expect in Freedom?
It’s very close to our hearts, and speaks about Nelson Mandela and our political leaders. It takes people through a journey of South Africa when South Africa was oppressed, and now it’s free. It’s a powerful show with a strong message.

Soweto Gospel Choir WED 17 JUL | 7.30PM | DARWIN ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE | $79.90 - $89.90 | $72.90 -$82.90 CONC | $49.90 CHILD 2-17 | yourcentre.com.au

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