Wednesday, February 8
Soweto Gospel Choir
The Music Hall Salutes African American History
Soweto Gospel Choir
Followed by a special encore over
African Burying Ground on Chestnut Street
Monday, February 13, 2012, 7pm
“Remarkable voices. . .spirited and spectacular”– The New York Times
Following a 130+-year tradition of celebrating its African American history, The Music Hall is thrilled to welcome South Africa’s Soweto Gospel Choir for a special evening on Monday, February 13, at 7 pm. Their performance of inspirational tribal, traditional, and popular African and Western gospel will be a unique and unforgettable experience—ending with a special encore sung over sacred African Burying Ground located up the street from the Historic Theater.
“This will be a profound historic night for Portsmouth,” says Executive Director Patricia Lynch. “The Music Hall’s connection with our African American heritage goes way back, from multiple speeches by Frederick Douglas before the Civil War, to a performance in 1916 by opera star Siseretta Jones after she was denied a role at the Metropolitan Opera. The Soweto singers will be joining us for a day in Portsmouth on Monday, February 13 to learn about the town’s African American legacy, and then at 7 pm will ignite the Historic Theater with their uplifting, charismatic choral singing. And Portsmouth won’t soon forget their post-performance hymn over sacred burial ground.”
Adds Music Hall historian Zhana Morris: “History is about so much more than bricks and mortar. We are proud to continue our longstanding celebration of African American artists, activists, and writers that began in the 19th century when Frederick Douglas spoke here so passionately about African American destiny.”
The evening will begin with a special introductory hymn sung from the balcony by Voices from the Heart, a Portsmouth based women’s chorus specializing in world music. After the two-hour concert, drummer Randy Armstrong will lead the Soweto Gospel Choir on a candlelight procession from the stage door to the Chestnut Street burial ground site, where they will celebrate the work of the African Burying Ground Committee by singing a special encore over sacred ground.
About The Soweto Gospel Choir
The Grammy-award winning Soweto Gospel Choir was formed in 2002 to celebrate the unique and inspirational power of African Gospel music. Under the direction of Beverly Bryer, the choir draws on the best talent from the many churches in and around Soweto and has quickly risen to become one of the most venerated voices of world music. Their first album, Voices of Heaven, reached the number one spot on Billboard’s World Music Chart within three weeks of its U.S. release. They went on to win a series of awards and accolades that include two American Gospel Music Awards, an Emmy for their collaboration with U2 on ESPN’s promotional campaign for the 2010 World Cup; and three Grammys—for their second album, Blessed, their third album, African Spirit, and the song Down to Earth, in collaboration with Peter Gabriel for the movie Wall-E. They have shared their “joy of faith through music” to enthusiastic audiences worldwide, in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, the Nelson Mandela Theatre, and Royal Festival Hall in London. Soweto Gospel Choir has also founded its own AIDS orphans foundation, Nkosi’s Haven Vukani, to assist organizations that receive little or no funding, raising more than $60 million U.S.
“A rich-voiced, brightly dressed embodiment of the ties between African and African-American music.” – The New York Times
Hilton Garden Inn, Cava Tapas and Wine Bar
River House Restaurant
To purchase tickets
The Soweto Gospel Choir will appear at The Music Hall’s Historic Theater on Monday, February 13, at 7pm. Tickets are $42; $36 and can be purchased at The Music Hall box office at 28 Chestnut Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, by phone at 603-436-2400, or online.
About Soul, Roots, Spirituals at The Music Hall
Soweto Gospel Choir is one of four upcoming shows that connect the Music Hall audience to African American history and entertainment this winter and spring:
• Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires will perform at the historic theater on Friday, February 3 at 8 pm; tickets $27 and $22. Fast gaining a reputation as the new James Brown, Bradley has been cited by Rolling Stone as “the next great talent in DapTone’s formidable R&B roster.”
•With founding member Otis Williams at the helm, The Temptations will rock the hall with their smooth-stepping classics on Friday, February 24 at 8 pm; tickets $52 and $44.
• Noted Harvard literary critic and educator Henry Louis Gates, Jr., will speak about his landmark book on African American history in the U.S., Life Upon These Shores, at The Music Hall Loft in a rescheduled appearance on Monday, April 16, at 7 pm; tickets $64 and $61 (includes book).