Soweto Gospel Choir brings hope to fans in Vancouver

Members of Soweto Gospel Choir in colorful traditional dress stand with their fists in the air.

By: Nercya Kalino, Staff Writer

On November 12, Grammy award winning Soweto Gospel Choir performed at the Queen Elizabeth theater as part of their North American tour. “HOPE: It’s Been a Long Time Coming” is their new concert with an uplifting message of resilience they aim to bring to the continent to overcome challenges.

Soweto Gospel Choir is a South African ensemble renowned worldwide for their breathtaking and spine-chilling energy that leaves a room full of joyful applause. Over the past two decades since their inception, they have performed for influential figures, including the late president Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. They have performed in the presence of former president Barack Obama and collaborated with artists such as Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, and John Legend. The choir is simply in a league of their own.

Their team consists of young musicians who are passionate about music and the impact they create through it. I was able to briefly speak to the choir master and founding member, Shimmy Jiyane, about what the Soweto Gospel Choir is excited for in the upcoming months and holiday season.

“It was a great performance with a beautiful audience and we felt moved by the turnout from the Canadian crowd,” said Jiyane. “The choir is very excited to be continuing our tour in this wonderful country and starting to bring some Christmas songs into the mix for the holiday season.”

As a choir, they hope that things will change for the better and wish their fans positivity. “We hope people leave our concerts smiling and filled with energy, joy, and encouragement.”

The performance reminds fans that despite the difficult circumstances of the pandemic and social struggle around the world, music can help bring a sense of hope and unity that transcends borders. Jiyane shared that the Soweto Gospel Choir hopes to perform in Vancouver again someday. Until then, you can experience the depth of their passion in their newest album, “Hope.”