This weekend, the three-time Grammy Award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir returns to Vancouver and Victoria for the only two Canadian stops on its North American tour.
Presented by Caravan World Rhythms, the group will perform their new concert, “HOPE: It’s Been a Long Time Coming” on Saturday, November 12 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver and on Sunday, November 13 at the Royal Theatre, Victoria.
Drawing from music that inspired and supported South Africa’s Freedom Movement and the American Civil Rights Movement, the concert is a timely celebration of human resilience to uplift audiences after the recent years of increasing political and social struggle around the world.
“We are elated to finally bring the Soweto Gospel Choir back to Vancouver after their last performance here four years ago,” says Robert Benaroya, Caravan World Rhythms’ managing artistic director. “Their music is truly uplifting and vibrant, and exactly what we need after the past few years of global social, environmental, and economic trials. Audiences will leave with a greater sense of joy and hope because of the power of the choir’s music.”
The Soweto Gospel Choir was formed in 2003 in Soweto (South West Township), a town outside of Johannesburg and home of Nelson Mandela and South Africa’s democratic movement. They came together just as South Africa was coming out of apartheid. Since then, they have performed at some of the country’s biggest events, such as the first of the 46664 AIDS benefit concerts and the 2010 FIFA World Cup, including singing for leaders like Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. With this history woven into the choir’s fabric, “HOPE: It’s Been a Long Time Coming” commemorates South Africa’s Freedom Movement and the American Civil Rights Movement through music like South African struggle songs and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Going to Come” and Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” that inspired these events.
Long renowned for their energizing concerts, the 24-piece Soweto Gospel Choir is comprised of some of South Africa’s best vocalists. Having shared the stage and collaborated with some of the biggest names in contemporary music, including U2, Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Josh Groban, the Choir performs a range of African gospel, freedom songs, and international classics. Their heartfelt renditions and arrangements showcase powerful solos and exuberant harmonies, supported by percussion, clapping, and traditional South African dancing.
The Soweto Gospel Choir’s HOPE: It’s Been a Long Time Coming takes place on Saturday, November 12, 2022 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 630 Hamilton St., Vancouver and on Sunday, November 13, 2022 at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton St., Victoria. For tickets and information visit caravanbc.com.