The choir hails from Soweto (South West Township) just outside Johannesburg in South Africa and the music is in honour of the father of the rainbow nation, former president Nelson Mandela.
During their time in city, Mandela Day will be marked across the world on 18 July, which will be fitting as it was Coventry’s Jerry Dammers who penned the track Nelson Mandela song, performed by The Special AKA and which became an anthem across the world during Mandela’s time in a South African prison.
The 16-piece choir will perform a range of rousing freedom songs in a joyous and uplifting set that includes Amazing Grace and a spine-tingling version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.
The Soweto Gospel Choir – which has been spreading musical joy across two decades, performing with the likes of U2, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Robert Plant, Celine Dion, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Josh Groban – is presented by Andrew Kay.
Andrew said: “The Soweto Gospel Choir members are thrilled to tour the UK after so many years of absence.
“The group continues to inspire fans worldwide but the reaction we get from audiences in the UK is unforgettable. We hope our uplifting message of hope, faith and joy reaches audiences new and old on this special return visit as we celebrate the legacy of the great Nelson Mandela.”
William Burdett-Coutts, Artistic Director at Assembly Festival, said: “It promises to be a truly special show at the Assembly Festival Garden in Coventry.
“Coventry is a city of peace – but also of protest – which it showed in its support of Nelson Mandela and through the song written by Jerry Dammers.
“It is fantastic, therefore, that Coventry is welcoming the Soweto Gospel Choir this July for a feast of uplifting, joyous music from one of the world’s best-known choirs.”
Assembly Festival Garden was originally part of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 and remains in the city until September 2022 as part of the legacy programme.
To keep up to date with all Assembly Festival Garden news and future programme announcements visit www.assemblyfestivalgarden.com. Find on social @AssemblyGardens.
For more information on the choir go to www.sowetogospelchoir.com
Their work can be heard here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaur5Bi1ruBhrJ2Z6nYsfmg
The Soweto Gospel Choir will perform at Assembly Festival Garden, Coventry in July and Assembly Hall at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August.
- 16:30, 5 - 31 Jul, Assembly Festival Garden, Queen of Flanders spiegeltent, Coventry CV1 2LU
- 13:40, 4 - 29 Aug, Assembly Hall, Main Hall, Edinburgh EH1 2LU
The Soweto Gospel Choir is also embarking on a UK tour later in the year. More details are below:
2022 UK Tour Schedule
Sat 14 Oct 7.30pm NEWCASTLE Newcastle Cathedral – For the charity organisation
Details to be announced
Sat 15 Oct 7.30pm DARLINGTON Hippodrome 01325 405405
Sun 16 Oct 7.30pm WOLVERHAMPTON Grand Theatre 01902 42 92 12
Tue 18 Oct 7.30pm LONDON Cadogan Hall 020 7730 4500
Thu 20 Oct 7.30pm MALVERN Festival Theatre 01684 892277
Fri 21 Oct 7.30pm ABERYSTWYTH Arts Centre 01970 623232
Sat 22 Oct 5pm & 8pm MANCHESTER Stoller Hall 0333 130 0967
Sun 23 Oct 7.30pm BIRMINGHAM Town Hall 0121 780 3333
Mon 24 Oct DURHAM Durham Cathedral for Durham University
A Celebration of Ruth First
Details to be announced
Tue 25 Oct 7.30pm HULL City Hall 01482 300306
Wed 26 Oct 7.30pm BRADFORD St George’s Hall 01274 432000