Soweto choir comes tops

WINNERS: Lucas Bok and Shimmy Jiyane with the Grammy Award. Pic. Lucy Nicholson. 10/02/08. © Reuters.
WINNERS: Lucas Bok and Shimmy Jiyane with the Grammy Award. Pic. Lucy Nicholson. 10/02/08. © Reuters.

Patience Bambalele

Patience Bambalele

The internationally-acclaimed Soweto Gospel Choir has bagged another Grammy Award.

They won it on Sunday in Los Angeles. This is the group's second Grammy in two years.

The group won in the Best Traditional World Music category at the glamourous event.

Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, musical director Lucas Bok was ecstatic.

"This is a a great accomplishment for our group. It was so special to win last year, but twice in a row is more than we ever could have hoped for. Everybody is excited about this achievement," Bok said.

He said the choir outshone other groups because of its unique style.

"We had tough competition but won because our music is good and people love it. We have managed to maintain our popularity because our music is unique and traditional," he said.

Bok said their aim was to increase the size of the choir from the current 52 to 70 and to continue to develop local talent.

The Soweto Gospel Choir is currently in the UK where their show is reported to be sold out. The group will return to South Africa in March.

The choir first won a Grammy last year. Since then it has earned recognition and respect internationally.

Other musicians who shone at the 50th Grammy Awards include Amy Winehouse, who got five awards; rapper Kanye West, who was nominated for eight awards but managed to scoop four.

Song writer and singer Bruce Springsteen walked away with three; jazzman Herbie Hancock walked away with the album of the year, spoiling Winehouse's chances of making a clean sweep.

The White Stripes, Justin Timberlake, Carrie Underwood and Mary J Blige also picked up awards. Veteran pop star Tina Turner performed a duet with Beyonce Knowles.

President Thabo Mbeki congratulated the choir for winning its second Grammy, presidential spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga said yesterday.

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