Five of the best South African music shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
- Stewart Smith
- 6 August 2014
This article is from 2014.
Featuring Dloko High School Choir, Simply Soweto Encha, Soweto Spiritual Singers and Soweto Afro-Pop Opera
A 30-strong school choir from Dloko, a poor township on the outskirts of South Africa's second largest city, Durban. They perform on their own in Jabulani, the Zulu word for rejoicing; while Township Voices features gospel, Zulu songs and dance, and collaborations with Scottish stars, including The Voice finalist Anna McLuckie.
Jabulani, St Andrew's & St George's West, 4–11 Aug (not 9 & 10), times vary, £10 (£8); Township Voices, Assembly Rooms, 12–14 Aug, 7.55 pm, £15 (£12).
With sharp suits and slick dance moves, this five-piece resembles a classic Motown vocal group. Their a cappella sound draws on African-American traditions, blending soul, gospel, jazz and doo-wop influences with their South African roots. Performing traditional songs from Zulu, Tswana, Xhosa and Swahili cultures, Soweta Encha have become a big hit at the Fringe, using harmony and rhythm instead of props and musicians.
just Festival, until 25 Aug (not 7, 14, 21, 24), times vary, £15 (£13).
A welcome Fringe return for this Soweto choir. Supported by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, members of the choir grew up in poverty and have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Resplendent in colourful traditional costumes and make-up, the choir's repertoire ranges from soulful gospel to joyous dance.
just Festival, until 23 Aug (not 6, 10, 13 & 14, 17, 20), times vary, £12 (£10); Greyfriars Kirk, 17 Aug, 11am, free.
Soweto Spiritual Singers reached an audience of billions after performing with R Kelly at the 2010 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony in Johannesburg. Now the 27-piece choir bring their uplifting gospel sound and dance routines to the Fringe, performing a cappella and instrumental music that blends South African styles with soul, pop and R&B.
Underbelly, Bristo Square, until 25 Aug (not 12), 5pm, £14–£15 (£13–£14).
Soweto Afro-Pop Opera bring a vibrant township style to pop, Motown and African music, and transform classical pieces and operatic arias with South African flair. Accompanied by a string quartet and four-piece band, this versatile ensemble can turn their hand to anything from Miriam Makeba to Puccini.
Underbelly, Bristo Square, until 25 Aug (not 12), 12.55pm, £13–£14.50 (£11–£12).