The Soweto Gospel Choir is bringing its fifth major North American tour to Oklahoma City for a 7 p.m. show at the Oklahoma City Community College Visual and Performing Arts Center Theater.
The internationally renowned vocal ensemble is taking its tour to 37 cities, in concerts that reflect the color and vibrancy of their rainbow nation while honoring the life and legacy of its late president and friend, Nelson Mandela.
In January, the two-time Grammy Award-winning choir released its fifth album, “Divine Decade” (Decca), a celebration of the ensemble’s past 10 years of artistic collaborations and accolades. The result of these magnetic musical partnerships is a recording that showcases the wonderful diversity of the group’s style as a gospel choir that sings across all genres of music.
Opening with an address from the choir’s patron, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “Divine Decade” features collaborations with a wide range of guest artists that exhibit the choir’s breadth of repertoire, including U2, Robert Plant, The Soil, Joepraize, Zahara, Elvis Blue, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Solly Mahlangu, Corlea Botha, Eric Wainaina, Johnny Clegg, Paul Ruske, and HHP. Amongst the featured tracks include the choir’s popular hits such as “Sedilaka,” Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel,” The Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There,” and the Fish Out of Water remix of “Put On Your Boots,” the choir’s collaboration with U2.
Founded in November 2002, the Soweto Gospel Choir first saw international success within one month of inception when its first single “Voices of Heaven” reached No. 1 on Billboard’s World Music Chart. In October 2006, the choir performed as invited guests for their patron Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s 75th birthday celebration in front of an audience that included former President Nelson Mandela, Zanele Mbeki, Tokyo Sexwale, Samuel L. Jackson, Alfre Woodard and Carlos Santana. The choir has made television appearances on “Conan,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” and the “Today” show, and has garnered honors including two American Gospel Music Awards in 2003, and the Grammy Award for Best Traditional World Music Album two years in a row—in 2006 for “Blessed” and in 2007 for “African Spirit.”
For more details about the album and Soweto Gospel Choir’s 2014 tour, go to sowetogospelchoir.com. For more information on tonight’s OKC show, go to www.occc.edu/cas/soweto-gospel-choir.html.