12 February 2007
South Africa’s Soweto Gospel Choir have won a Grammy award in the category best traditional world music for their album Blessed.
The Grammy awards ceremony took place at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles on Sunday.
Since forming in 2002, the Soweto Gospel Choir has performed in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the US, Europe and Singapore, becoming an international, multi-award winning sensation.
Drawing from the churches and communities of South Africa’s most famous township, the 26-member group mixes earthy rhythms with rich harmonies to express the energy of South Africa.
Accompanied by a four-piece band and percussion section, the choir gives its own unique interpretation to both traditional and contemporary music, performing in six of South Africa’s 11 official languages.
The choir has picked up a Helpmann Award, Australia’s prestigious performing arts award, for best contemporary music concert (2003); the 2003 American Gospel Music Award for best choir; the 2004 Gospel Music Award (also US-based) for best international choir.
Their debut CD, Voices From Heaven (2005), reached number 1 on Billboard’s World Music Chart within three weeks of its US release after debuting at number 3.
Also nominated for the 2007 Grammys – in the two categories of best contemporary world music and best surround-sound production – were traditional Zulu musicians Ladysmith Black Mambazo, for their album Long Walk to Freedom.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo already have two Grammys – won 18 years apart – to their name, but failed to add a third one this time round.