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Soweto Gospel Choir To Tour New Zealand in May

Media release 31 March 2008

Double Grammy Award Winners Soweto Gospel Choir To Tour New Zealand in May

“a truly otherworldly sound that literally takes the breath away … dazzling” The Scotsmen


Heralded as the most exciting group to emerge in world music in recent years, the two-time Grammy Award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir returns to New Zealand to tour its brand new show, African Spirit, from 27 May to 3 June 2008.

Soweto Gospel Choir performs in Auckland on Wednesday 28 May, in Napier on Friday 30 May, Wellington on Saturday 31 May and in Christchurch on Tuesday 3 June.

The choir, which earlier this month won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional World Music Album, was a sell-out success in August last year when it premiered its new show at the Edinburgh Festival 2007. African Spirit celebrates the strength of the human spirit and captures the beauty and passion that is Africa.

Through vibrant rhythm, movement and its renowned vocal tapestry, the choir performs a repertoire that reflects some of the history of the Rainbow Nation, songs of remembrance for the past, as well as songs of joy and praise for the present and future with a repertoire ranging from the traditional African gospel song “Sefapano” to an extraordinary new interpretation of Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Remember You”.

Under the direction of choirmaster David Mulovhedzi, Soweto Gospel Choir draws on the best talent from the many churches and communities in and around Soweto, South Africa and performs in six different languages, including English, Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho.

Since its first international performances in 2003, the Soweto Gospel Choir has become a worldwide phenomenon performing sell-out concerts at the world’s greatest concert halls. In 2008, the choir will embark on major tours of the UK, Australia, Germany, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands as well as its fourth tour of the USA.

In its short but spectacular career, Soweto Gospel Choir has sung alongside superstars including Bono, Queen, Annie Lennox, Dionne Warwick, Jimmy Cliff and Celine Dion, shared top billing in Paris with South African legend, Johnny Clegg, was the support act to the Red Hot Chili Peppers in Germany and recorded with Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant for the Fats Domino tribute album “Going Home”.

The choir has sung on numerous occasions for the father of democracy in South Africa, Nelson Mandela, were the guest stars at Oprah’s famous 2007 New Year’s party at Sun City, performed for Bill Clinton and sang Happy Birthday to its beloved Patron, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

In 2007, Soweto Gospel Choir won its first Grammy Award for Best Traditional World Music Album (for its second album Blessed) and won their second in March this year in the same category at the 2008 Grammy Awards (for its third album African Spirit).

The Soweto Gospel Choir has also won the Best Gospel Choir Award at the 2005 American Gospel Music Awards and the 2003 Australian Helpmann Award for Best Contemporary Concert Presentation.

Apart from unforgettable performances, members of Soweto Gospel Choir seek to show gratitude for their own good fortune, by contributing to the lives of Aids Orphans back home in South Africa.

In 2004 the Soweto Gospel Choir set up its own Charity Foundation in association with the established Aids Charity, Nkosi’s Haven. Called Nkosi’s Haven / Vukani (meaning to arise, do something!) the choir’s Vukani is named after late AIDS activist, 12 year old, Nkosi Johnson.

At the conclusion of each performance, the Soweto Gospel Choir invite audiences to donate with funds going to the many AIDS Orphans Establishments which receive no government or private funding with 100% of the funds collected through concert donations going direct to the charity.

To date, Soweto Gospel Choir has raised almost US$1 million from audience donations and last year fed, clothed and housed over 600 orphans.

Soweto Gospel Choir performs at Auckland Town Hall on Wednesday 28 May, Napier Municipal Theatre on Friday 30 May, in Wellington's St James Theatre on Saturday 31 May and at Christchurch Town Hall on Tuesday 3 June. Tickets for the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch shows are available from Ticketek 0800 TICKETEK or www.ticketek.co.nz . Tickets for the Napier show are available from Ticketdirect 0800 4TICKET or www.ticketdirect.co.nz.

“‘The choir…brings a slice of heaven every time it performs” Herald Sun “Spectacular” New York Times

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