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Grammy Winning Soweto Gospel Choir Celebrates Nelson Mandela’s 100th-New Song+New CD!!!

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*Soweto Gospel Choir‘s universal message of love, unity and hope, along with its captivating melodic and harmonic wonder, mesmerizing showmanship and awe-inspiring performances, has made believers of millions of fans around the world. Since the Choir emerged on the global music scene in 2002, it has received the kind of accolades most groups only dream of.

The acclaimed South African World Music sensation has earned two Grammy Awards, scored two #1 Billboard World Music Chart albums and has earned the distinction as the only South African music act to ever perform at the Oscars. Its effortless, divine talent and beauty has afforded  it the opportunity to either record or perform with such notable artists as Stevie Wonder, Peter Gabriel, Bono, Pharrell Williams, Aretha Franklin and Kirk Franklin, among many others.

Not many artists can count as their supporters the likes of the late Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu (the official patron of the Choir) and the current President of the Republic of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa.  On September 14, 2018 Soweto Gospel Choir will release its highly anticipated sixth Shanachie Entertainment recording, Freedom, a riveting collection of freedom songs from South Africa and beyond, marking the Centennial of Nelson Mandela’s birth.

The depth of the scope of the music on Freedom speaks to Soweto Gospel Choir’s extraordinary range and ability to take anything and make it uniquely its own while delivering it in the exhilarating and joyous fashion they have come to be celebrated for.  It is fitting that this new recording falls on Nelson Mandela’s Centennial. Soweto Gospel Choir Music Director Diniloxolo Ndlakuse shares:

“The significance of Nelson Mandela’s 100th commemoration to South Africans is, firstly and foremost a reminder of the role played by Nelson Mandela in moving South Africa from a position of being an undemocratic, oppressive society to one of a peaceful co-existence for all racial groups.  Mandela represents love, peace, forgiveness and strength to the choir. He is a symbol of inspiration to the Choir.”

Soweto Gospel Choir sings in six of South Africa’s eleven official languages on Freedom but mostly in Zulu or Sotho, as well as English. The Choir’s first single is “Umbombela,” which means “train song,” is a composition that speaks of the travails experienced by black South Africans during the apartheid era, when migrant workers were forced to travel long distances away from their families in order to meet the harsh economic and political demands made by the government.

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soweto gospel choir

On October 4, 2018 Soweto Gospel Choir will kick off a blockbuster US tour.  Anyone who has had the good fortune to attend a Soweto Gospel Choir concert knows what a moving experience it can be. Its inspirational performances transcend race, religion and age. The Choir is known to leave their diverse audiences in tears, dancing in the aisles and standing in praise and ovation.

With the release of Soweto Gospel Choir’s first recording, Voices From Heaven, in 2004 and its first international tour, the Choir exploded onto the international concert stage, playing prestigious venues on three continents. 2005’s Blessed earned the Choir their first Grammy which was followed by 2007’s African Spirit, which led to a second Grammy for the Choir. The choir also released a CD and DVD called Live at the Nelson Mandela Theatre in 2008 and in 2009. Soweto Gospel Choir became the first South African artists to perform at the Academy Awards, when they sang “Down To Earth,” the Gabriel/Newman Oscar-nominated song, with John Legend. In 2010, the Choir released its Grammy nominated recording Grace and they collaborated with U2 for ESPN’s promotional campaign for the 2010 FIFA World Cup earning a sports Emmy. 2013 saw the release of Divine Decade- Soweto Gospel Choir & Friends and commemorated the Choir’s 10th anniversary. It was a star-studded occasion being joined in celebration by the likes of Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Johnny Clegg among others.  In 2014 Soweto Gospel Choir was invited to perform at the Memorial Service for Nelson Mandela at Westminster Abbey. The Choir was also selected to sing at the memorial service for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in 2018. In the spring they also performed with Chance the Rapper at his sold-out concert at The Dome in South Africa.

Soweto Gospel Choir’s story is the best of many worlds-great music, great achievements and recognition but also great contribution through its inspiring charity, Nikosi’s Haven Vukani, which assists the victims of AIDS and their families in South Africa. The Choir’s greatest achievement of all may be the fact that it has raised over $1,500,000 for its charity.  To date, over 9,000 children have been fed through registered organizations being supported by Vukani. Children’s school fees have been paid, orphans school uniforms have been purchased and appliances have been given in order to ease the load of women running soup kitchens to ensure that children receive at least two nutritional meals a day. Some of the additional resources the Choir has provided include security, electrical installations, plumbing, wheel chairs and school supplies.

The Choir’s presence on the international music scene is not regarded lightly by its Music Director Diniloxolo Ndlakuse who concludes, “It means a great deal as a choir that we get to share our dance, our diverse cultures and faiths and our love for God to the world.  We hope to bring about a better understanding of South Africa by telling a story of where we come from, where we are and where we hope to be as a democratic nation.”

The celebrated Choir that has collaborated with Bono and U2, Peter Gabriel, Robert Plant, Pharrell Williams, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder & Kirk Franklin among others, kicks off  its Blockbuster US Tour In October (Click Here For Tour Dates)

 

 

 

 

 

source:
Monifa Brown/Shanachie Entertainment
[email protected]

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** FEATURED STORY **

Pastor Cal Keeps Love Alive on ‘Married at First Sight’ (EUR EXCLUSIVE!)

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Pastor Cal - Calvin Roberson

eur mafs poster

*For 11 seasons, “Married at First Sight” (MAFS) has been the ultimate experiment in matchmaking as couples who have never met – complete strangers – tie the knot.

If you are not familiar with the popular Lifetime series, people looking for love are matched by relationship experts (Dr. Pepper Schwartz, Dr. Viviana Coles, and Pastor Calvin Roberson-known as Pastor Cal) and agree to tie the knot before meeting their mates.

The show follows the couples for a few weeks as they experience their first meeting at their weddings, their honeymoons, meeting each other’s families, and other milestone events all the while being counseled by the experts. At the end of each season, the couples are given the chance to continue in their marriage or get a divorce.

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Pastor Calvin Roberson (Pastor Cal) is one of the experts matching couples on “Married at First Sight.” (Photo: Lifetime)

While some may question the show’s premise, the EUR spoke to Pastor Cal recently and he said the series is genuine.

“My job on the show is to get these couples, put them together, and make sure they stay together,” said Pastor Cal. “My goal is to look at their differences, see where they’re compatible, counsel them and in some cases, threaten them, to make it work. All the experts, our focus, is simply making sure the couples stay together.”

As for a method in which the couples are matched, he added, “There isn’t a solid formula we apply to every couple. It has to be tweaked as we find out people’s peculiarities. It can be nerve-wracking but it’s rewarding in the end.”

Like many MAFS seasons, there are surprising revelations and this one, featuring couples from New Orleans, is no exception.

“Season 11 has brought us so many surprises,” Pastor Cal said. “Even in casting, one of the couples we thought would get along much quicker is one of the ones lagging behind. And one couple we thought would move slower to intimacy are moving ahead. And that’s with Miles and Karen being the slower and Woody and Amani being the faster of the two.”

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Woody and Amani in current season (11) of “Married at First Sight.” (Photo: Lifetime)

He continued, “Also, by my own admission, I fall on the sword on this one, I was not expecting Bennett and Amelia to get along so well. I thought she would be put off more by his lack of profession. It was a big surprise to me.”

The next MAFS season will include Atlanta couples and after that the show heads to Houston, which is casting now. Pastor Cal told the EUR that the show adapts to the couples from each city.

“I believe that every city we film in brings a certain flavor and the participants from that city take on the flavor from that city,” Pastor Cal said. “New Orleans is laid-back, they party, and it’s a very fun city as opposed to a city like D.C. that is very political, buttoned up, and tight. But definitely we found that every city influences the participants. We definitely see different personalities coming out of each city.”

MAFS Houston Flyer

Speaking of Atlanta, Pastor Cal is the lead pastor at Progression church in the peach city. He and his wife Wendy have a marriage coaching organization that offers marriage and relationship conferences, boot camps, and seminars worldwide.

While COVID-19 may have slowed down the in-person events, that has not stopped people from contacting Pastor Cal for love connections, “Because of COVID, we’re online. I get more people through DM’s, email, etc. asking me to match them.”

And how does the church feel about the show?

“My church actually loves it.” Pastor Cal said. “They are so supportive and such an incredible group of people. They tell people about the show. Our church was actually founded on relationships, so it was an easy fit. Our church was founded on positive marriage and positive family.”

Look out for Pastor Cal’s book, “Marriage Ain’t for Punks,” slated to come out next year.

If you are interested in being on “Married at First Sight” and live in Houston, click here to apply.

For more information on MAFS’ current season, click here.

 

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Nigerian Bread Seller Lands Modeling Contract After Photobombing Rapper’s Shoot

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Olajumoke Orisaguna

*27-year-old former bread seller Olajumoke Orisaguna captured the world’s attention a few years ago when a photo of her carrying a massive bag of bread loafs ontop of her head went viral.

She was discovered on the streets of the city of Lagos by international photographer Ty Bello, who was shooting with English rapper Tinie Tempah. Unintentionally, Orisaguna came out in one of the images.

Days later, Bello shared pictures from that shoot on his social media but with interest of finding out who the bread seller was in the photo.

“WHO IS SHE? Everyone has been asking if this lady is a model… She definitely SHOULD be a model… I’ll find a way to track her down somehow. You guys can also help,“ the photographer captioned the post.

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As PEOPLE notes, from that moment on, her life changed forever. In less than a year, Orisaguna managed to sign contracts with recognized agencies. Earlier this year, she wrapped up her tour of South Africa and she also launched a vlog and reality show.

“I never expected this would ever happen to me,” she told CNN. “My friends have told me they saw me on the TV and they are really happy. My parents cannot believe their own child can become such a success.”

In March, she celebrated the one year anniversary of her discovery. In an exclusive interview with Pulse in January, Orisaguna spoke about the people who have been influential in her rise to fame. During the interview, she thanked Azuka Ogujuiba of ThisDay Newspaper, as she was instrumental in Olajumoke’s success story.

Orisaguna, who left her two children and husband to sell bread, is now being offered by a bank to pay for her kid’s education through college.

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‘Origin of Everything’ on PBS Sparks Interest with Controversial & Everyday Topics (EUR Exclusive!)

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Origin of Everything

*“Origin of Everything,” available on PBS.org, has been exploring topics since 2017 that run the gamut. The show jumps into a variety of subjects by investigating daily life like the words we use, pop culture, and why we are hooked on technology.

The show does not shy away from controversial topics such as slavery, race and ethnicity, and mass incarceration of African Americans.

Danielle Bainbridge, Ph.D., the host and lead writer of “Origin of Everything,” told the EUR in a recent interview that the series is about making people think beyond the restrictive ways we have been taught to view history.

“It’s a show about our collective story and how we are envisioning history,” Dr. Bainbridge said. ”How do we think about history that includes all of us and just not the figures and facts that we were taught in school. So, it’s a show about under told and underrepresented history. We’re trying to make history feel very present to the people who watch it.”

She continued, “One of the reasons to watch it is if you’re curious about how did we get to our current moment? How do small things such as why do we eat popcorn at the movies or what is the origin of ethnicity and how do these things still impact the way we think about the world?”

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EUR PBS Danielle Bainbridge

Dr. Danielle Bainbridge, host of “Origin of Everything,” available on PBS.org. (Courtesy of PBS)

Deftly equipped to talk about controversial topics, Dr. Bainbridge holds a Ph.D. in African American Studies and American Studies from Yale University and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in English & Theatre Arts. She is also a faculty member at Northwestern University in Theatre and African American Studies

In early 2017, when she was a graduate student, she was contacted by PBS about working on the show and thought it was a joke.

“When they first reached out to me, I thought it was a hoax,” Dr. Bainbridge said. “I was thinking how would they even know who I am because I was a graduate student? But I think they found me through a since defunct janky website that I had set up. They reached out to me, I auditioned, did a screen test, and a writing sample and after that I was hired to help develop the show.”

Viewers are encouraged to be interactive with the series because it is digital. With instant commentary from the audience, the show knows immediately what viewers think, which for the most part is positive. However, when it delves into controversial subject matters things can get sticky.

“I would say overall people are pretty positive about the series because most of the folks who watch it are longtime watchers who tune in every week for episodes,” Dr. Bainbridge said. “The only exception is if we cover more sensitive topics like, race, gender, or sexuality we will get some pushback. I think that’s just the cost of doing business with open discourse.”

One of the most controversial shows was about the transatlantic slave trade.

“We did one episode on why Europeans enslaved Africans and that was probably our most viewed episode as well as our most critiqued one,” Dr. Bainbridge said. “I think often times if you view yourself as pretty well versed in history from what you learn in school and then you learn something that goes in the opposite direction it can be jarring or for some people upsetting. We think of it as our value or service to our audience to present accurate history or history that doesn’t get told that often so that people can be informed with the whole picture.”

She added that she has an answer for those who point out that Africans sold slaves to Europeans.

“Slavery was not invented with West Africans and Europeans,” Dr. Bainbridge continued. “Some form of enslavement – whether through war, becoming a prisoner of war, or through different systems – goes back to ancient societies from around the world. So, it is not distinct to West Africa or Europe or any other region of the world.”

Dr. Bainbridge added, “But the difference with this particular moment in slavery was that it intersected with capitalism in a way that was very different with slavery that preceded it. People were taken into the system and their children inherited their status as a slave and that is where the differences started to emerge. We have to think about these things as distinct only because the system that existed with chattel slavery was so radically different than the slavery that existed around the world beforehand.”

With the ongoing protests against police brutality, “Origin of Everything” has also tackled the racist beginnings of United States law. Dr. Bainbridge breaks down the discriminatory history by looking at colonialism, slavery, the Jim Crow era, and mass incarceration.

“I decided to write this episode about legal discrimination, and I didn’t have a particular agenda in mind,” she said. “As I started doing the research it was overwhelming. I started to find (material) that just dealt with legal discrimination about black people in this country from its origin to now. I thought it was something that people needed to know.”

“I was never taught in any history class that I took through high school any of the information from that episode. I was taught that things are fair and that a lot of the blame was placed inadvertently or inherently on black communities, impoverished communities, or communities that struggle. When I saw that in some ways the law was stacked against black people and certain other populations, I thought that was important to bring to light. In this moment, people are looking for reliable sources and this could add to the conversation.”

New episodes of “Origin of Everything” are available on PBS.org and the PBS Digital Studios’ YouTube Channel. Join the conversation by visiting Twitter-@PBSOrigin and Instagram-@pbsoriginofeverything.

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TV Calendar: Coming to Small Screens

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