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Soweto Gospel Choir: 'Voices from Heaven'

Members of the Soweto Gospel Choir perform in NPR's Studio 4A.
Julia Peck, NPR
Members of the Soweto Gospel Choir perform in NPR's Studio 4A.

South Africa's Soweto Gospel Choir combines traditional African gospel and Western Christian music to form a rich, unique sound. In a visit to NPR, members of the group perform songs from their new CD, Voices from Heaven.

The group sings in English and eight South African languages, including Xhosa, famous for its clicking sounds, which are featured in the aptly titled "The Click Song."

"The spiritual music, it's all about the good news of God," explains choirmaster David Mulovhedzi.

Another of the songs the choir performs is called "Vuma," a Zulu spiritual. The title means "believe in the Lord and you'll be saved," Mulovhedzi says.

The group's performances are energetic, as choir members lean forward and raise their hands in unison.

"Because we're such a young group, we've got energy just oozing in our bodies, and we can never sing a song and just stand," says singer Sipokazi Luzipo. "The rhythm is in our bodies. The minute the drum goes, our bodies go with it. That's just who we are as young South Africans."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.
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