Primary Instrument: Band/orchestra
Soweto Gospel Choir was formed in November, 2002
In December, 2002 their first album “Voices of Heaven” was recorded and went on to reach the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s World Music Chart within 3 weeks of its release in the US.
In 2003 the choir won its first award, a Helpmann Award, Australia’s prestigious Performing Arts Award, for “Best Contemporary Music Concert.” This success was followed when they won a 2003 American Gospel Music Award for “Best Choir” In the same year, they won an American Gospel Music Award for “Best International Choir.”
Soweto Gospel Choir received its greatest accolade in 2007, a Grammy Award for their second CD “Blessed”, in the category “Best Traditional World Music.”At the same time, they were nominated for the 26th International Reggae and World Music Awards, held at the Apollo Theatre, Harlem, on 5 May, in the category “Contribution to World Music”, alongside Jimmy Cliff, Salif Keita, Youssou N’Dour and Ziggy Marley. In May 2007 the choir won a SAMA Award (South African Music Association Award) in the Category “Best Live Performance DVD.”
In February 2008, the choir was awarded a second Grammy Award for their third album “African Spirit”, in the “Best Traditional World Music” category. Also in February 2008, the choir was honoured with the PanSALB Award for Multilingualism and Nation Building, for “Album of the Decade”
While in New Orleans, they recorded a track with rock legend Robert Plant, which was included on a Fats Domino tribute album, with proceeds going to the victims of Hurricane Katrina
The choir has toured the world extensively, performing at prestigious venues like Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, the Nelson Mandela Theatre and Royal Festival Hall in London. They have performed at high profile festivals such as the Edinburgh Festival, the Adelaide Festival, the Hong Kong Festival, and the London Festival, always to huge acclaim.
Soweto Gospel Choir received its third Grammy nomination in December 2008, this time in the category Best Contemporary World Music, for their album, “Live at the Nelson Mandela Theatre.” The song “Down To Earth” from the blockbuster Wall-E movie, their collaboration with Peter Gabriel, won a Grammy in the Best Movie Song category.
In February 2009, the choir became the first South African artist to perform at the Academy Awards, when they sang “Down To Earth”, the Gabriel/Newman Oscar- nominated song, with John Legend.
In March 2009, they were nominated for three SAMAs (South African Music Awards), for “Live At the Nelson Mandela Theatre”, winning the Award for “Best Duo or Group.”
2010 saw the release of “Grace,” its fifth album for the Sanachie label.