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Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Popular gospel outfit hits the road for its annual tour.

South Africa’s most popular gospel outfit, Joyous Celebration, is on its annual nationwide concert tour that will be tied in with auditions for the group. The Old Mutual Joyous Celebration tour reaches Durban to perform on July 31 at the ICC before moving on to Port Elizabeth.

Presented by Old Mutual for the third year running, the cross-country tour takes in the major centres and this unmiss-able musical treat will feature the three founder members, a six-piece band and 35 cast members – all united in uplifting, stirring, soul-nourishing song.

As part of Joyous Celebration’s ongoing drive to uncover new talent, aspiring gospel singers have the chance to show what they’re made of, with a view to possibly joining the group in 2011.

As Jabu Hlongwane, who founded Joyous Celebration 14 years ago with Lindelani Mkhize and Mthunzi Namba, explains: ”the theme of this year’s concerts is ‘moving people towards worship without losing the normal Joyous feel” – and audiences can expect to experience the outfit’s original music together with traditional favourites, laced with different languages and rhythms. For those who wish to join in and sing along during the show, song books will be on sale at the concerts because, as Hlongwane points out, “singalong is at the core of what we do – there is no Joyous without singalong!”

Joyous Celebration’s membership is fluid, changing at least once every two years – it is not so much a group as it is a concept or project to groom singers to enter the music industry independently.

“Our tradition has always been to look for new talent and develop and nurture it on the country’s biggest gospel music platform – that’s at the heart of what Joyous is all about,” says Hlongwane. “People see Joyous on TV or DVD and have the idea that it’s a glamorous life, but when they join us they learn that you need to put in a lot of hard work to be successful. They emerge as well-rounded, multidimensional, versatile artists who can go back to their communities with their skills, and they become quite desirable to other productions or artists as musical directors and backing singers, or even start their own music-based projects.”

The auditions will take place from 9h00 to 15h00 on the day before each concert, with a passionate, standout singer from the auditions possibly being co-opted into the following day’s show. Members of the public who would like to audition should log onto for more details, or can head along to the venue on the day of the auditions and fill in an application form.

Tickets range from R150 to R300 for the Old Mutual Joyous Celebration concerts and booking is at Computicket.