Archive for July 22nd, 2008

Drakensberg Boys’ choir

This video of the choir singing “Shosholosa” epitomises South Africa to me. Their vibrant voices singing an old zulu song, sung on the trains taking the workers to work in the Witwatersrand gold mines of Johannesburg in the “old days”.

The Drakensberg School has only been in existence for 41 years but is now world famous. The following is just a small part of the information from Wikipedia:

Every year, the Choir plans to tour overseas, and such is its national and international reputation, the School is able to generate funds for its Capital Development Plans and makes a major contribution in this way to its very high running expenses. As can be seen below, the Choir has represented its country on numerous occasions, bringing great credit to itself, and immense joy to its patrons.

The Choir has been to the United States four times, (with the freedom of Jacksonville, Spartanburg and a special award from Disney‘s Magic Kingdom being conferred on them) and to Canada. During their second visit to the USA, four soloists took the top honours at an International Singing Competition in Des Moines, Iowa.

In Europe they have sung in the UK, Hungary, Switzerland, Italy, France, Portugal, Greece, Poland and, by Papal request, at the Vatican City before 25,000 people. During the Choir School’s 25th anniversary year, the Choir was acclaimed one of the best in the world in the triennial World Boys’ Choir Festival in Poznań, Poland.

The boys have toured much of Africa, singing in Egypt, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia. The boys have also undertaken tours to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mauritius, Japan, Turkey, Finland, Australia and Scandinavia, and the Choir has just received an invitation to undertake tours to China and Korea.

One of the Choir’s major triumphs has been its tours, at the invitation of the Min On Cultural Organisation, to Japan in 1997, 2001 and 2002.

In 1997, the Choir performed 32 concerts in a seven week tour, and sang to full houses on each occasion, the audiences totalling approximately 50,000 people. The undertaking was repeated in 2001, and the Choir experienced a similar reaction in 2002.

Spend a little time at the Wikipedia site and read up their history as well. And then listen to the music again. I do hope it stirs you as much as it stirs me.



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