- One of the Africa’s most popular choral ensembles is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a release of a new album this Easter.
- South Africa’s Joyous Celebration is one of the biggest and most successful brands of gospel music in Africa and now, 25 years since the group became a reality, they are celebrating that milestone with the latest in a series of celebratory albums.
One of the Africa’s most popular choral ensembles is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a release of a new album this Easter, having just been signed by two global record label that will expand their brand of uplifting music even further around the world.
South Africa’s Joyous Celebration is one of the biggest and most successful brands of gospel music in Africa and now, 25 years since the group became a reality, they are celebrating that milestone with the latest in a series of celebratory albums, and a new contract with Universal Music Africa and Motown Gospel for the North American market.
Their style of energetic praise and worship and traditional African spiritual songs has made them a much-loved ensemble in other parts of Africa, including Kenya, where songs like “My God is Good” and “Big God” have crossed beyond gospel playlists and become mainstream pop anthems. Joyous, as they are known by their millions of fans, was founded by three close friends South African music veteran Dr Lindelani Mkhize, and two pastors Jabu Hlongwane and Mthunzi Namba, to celebrate the end of apartheid and the peaceful transition to multiracial democracy.
“We are three very different individuals and that is the strength of Joyous Celebration,” says Dr Mkhize, an influential figure in South Africa’s music industry having worked with artistes across different genres, from jazz performers like Hugh Masekela and Sibongile Khumalo to Kwaito acts like Mafikizolo, Malaika and Bongo Muffin.
“I was not fulfilled working in other formats of music, because gospel music is what I grew up with, always being pushed by my mother to sing in the front of the choir because I was too short,” Mkhize told Radio 702 in Johannesburg.
When they staged their first show at Wits Great Hall, in Johannesburg in 1996, few could have imagined that this would turn out to be the gospel powerhouse that they are today. That concert was not recorded live, because it was intended as a one off to offer thanks for the smooth transition from apartheid to democracy, but everyone who watched the group wanted more. So, they went into the studio and recorded the songs for their debut album “Joyous Celebration Volume 1.”
Joyous is more than just a performing group, it is a platform that identifies, nurtures and trains raw talent and then showcases them on the biggest stage in South Africa and around the world. It is an opportunity for young and talented musicians to acquire professional training to enable them grow with the group and eventually build their own careers.
“Talent alone is not enough; it is how hard you practice to make your craft successful,” says Dr Mkhize, about the artistes he works with.
“I look for someone with the right attitude and personality and discipline.”