Soweto Sounds 

South African pop music was introduced to most Americans via Paul Simon's Graceland back in 1986, but aside from vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo (who are slated to perform in Memphis next month), the troubled country's amazing music tradition hasn't made much of a lasting impact on American listeners. This week's a rare chance for Memphians to play catch-up as the 26-member Soweto Gospel Choir, a vocal group in the Ladysmith Black Mambazo tradition, play Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church.

On their most recent album, Blessed, the choir mixes American-oriented English numbers with more explicitly South African material. Predictably, the trad-gospel stuff ("Oh Happy Day," "Swing Down") is of less interest, but the South African songs -- the traditional "Mbube," the Mambazo cover "Lelilungelo Ngelakho," the shimmying "Njalo," with a rhythm section schooled in the pop style mbaqanga -- soar. I saw a subset of the group perform on Late Night with Conan O'Brien a few weeks ago: If you think good American gospel choirs are fun to watch, wait until you see these men and women dart and dive and dip with an acrobatic glee that matches their dynamic music.

Soweto Gospel Choir, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 9th, Mississippi Boulevard christian Church (information, 312-9787), $20 in advance, $25 at the door

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.


Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Solo: A Star Wars Story

We Saw You

Welcome, Dale Watson! And more!

Hungry Memphis

Porcellino's to Move

Fly On The Wall Blog

Dammit Gannett and other Media Follies — Long Weekend Roundup!!!

Intermission Impossible

mömandpöp rock the Memphis Children's Theatre Festival

News Blog

Airport Fires Back at New York Times Story

Politics Beat Blog

Bredesen's Modest Bio, Common Touch Score with Local Democrats

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Chris Herrington

  • Last Words

    In "Enough Said," James Gandolfini makes his last lead film role his best.
    • Sep 26, 2013
  • Masters of Sound

    New albums from two of Memphis’ most distinctive stylists.
    • Sep 19, 2013
  • Hayes Carll at the Hi-Tone

    • Sep 19, 2013
  • More »
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation