For me, Gospel music is one of the most moving musical genres in the world. I am also very influenced by Jazz, Soul and R’n’B all of which originate in Gospel music. I didn’t grow up near a Gospel church, but I have always wanted to go to one and sing. I got a taster in London, going to open mic neo-soul nights that were run by in house gospel bands, and 90% of the singers there were gospel singers, I learnt a lot there.
However, the Tabernacle ministry service in South Africa with around 3000 people was on another level!!!
I was there on Sunday with some of the Micheck team- Daimion Peppers, Jus Rolle, and my producer Adam Nicholas.For these guys simply being in Africa is a life changing experience. Peppers and Jus are ‘African American’ and Adam is half Ghanian; and this is their first time in Africa. To be in an African church too, felt like home as they’ve grown up with it, and yet, it’s a home they’ve never known. I looked over to see the look on their faces and saw grown men were nearly crying! (I think Jus did even have a secret cry, Daimion was definitely crying inside and Adam had tears in his eyes!) When you see grown men with tears in their eyes, you know you’re not the only one moved by the experience! We really had to hold back from making a crying scene at certain moments!
I also grew up going to church, and I come from a religious/ spiritual background. Catholic mother, and a Quaker father, I went to the local Quaker church every Sunday, where you worship in silence and appreciate the spiritual essence of Christ. I love the silence, but love music also… So I felt like I was at home too :-)
The Soweto Gospel choir performed for us all and it was really beautiful to see how proud the community were of them. The choir have travelled the world and shown people South African music, they have helped to put Soweto on the map! It’s great that despite their hectic schedule, they take time to give back to their community and be a part of it. They all started singing in church of course too :)
Another impressive local choir and some amazing singers and dancers performed too. So we were really spoilt for music!
and then they invited us to perform UNITE for them! Funnily enough, I didn’t feel nervous when I got on stage, even though there were some incredible singers way way better than me there!! But that didn’t seem to matter, there was so much love in the room for music and for God, that I felt I had nothing to fear, and I didn’t :) After I sang with Adam on guitar and Jus rapping a bridge section, we left the stage with the crowd saying “We love you” and “You belong here”. Humbling <3
Later on a local police woman did an inspiring speech to urge the community to come together and pray for one another, warning of the local problems of drugs, human trafficking and other crimes. She said “the young lady sang a song, and she said Simunye- so we must come together as one to tackle these issues”…. that was another really humbling special moment. :)
At the end of the Soweto Gospel choirs performance, they invited all the singers to come and join in on ‘ Oh Happy Day!’ Powerful- with so many beautiful voices around me I felt like an angel in heaven ;)
And after that we topped off the soul music with some real soul food!! We had some home cooked chicken, spinach, pumpkin and something similar to plantain.. mmmm!
We are waiting for the video to come back of our performance, but for now.. here is a little clip I made (to my best ability!) to give you an idea of what we experienced at the church. Hope it can give you some idea and maybe you too can taste the inspiration :)
I am 100% going back there when I come back to South Africa…
PEACE, LOVE AND LIGHT