By Melanie Henderson
The AfroSound Choir, celebrating its one-year birthday, kick-started their musical calendar at the Anglican Church in downtown Buenos Aires on Saturday April 27th in aid of their charity campaign “Everyday Something For Someone.”
Clad in brand-new black/burnt orange robes, this wonderful gospel group performed a concert of just over an hour including some AfroSound favourites from 2012, as well as some new material.
The choice of repertoire at Argentine gospel concerts is always interesting, particularly due to the fact that almost every group does not belong to a church or religious organisation.
Indeed, this new form of performing gospel — independent of the church service — could be deemed a little difficult to pull off; especially so far away from gospel music mecca. Gospel music exists within the Argentine church, but no way does it carry the same musical weight as it does in the States, and you have to look a lot harder to find it. Especially in English.
Taking that into account, difficulty does not come across in the slightest with the AfroSound choir. The purpose is clear: performance in praise of the Lord.
Mother-daughter directing duo Caterina Finocchi and Claudia Tapia’s gospel investigation continues. Since their 2012 breakaway debut — following the close of the Coro Gospel de Argentin a– they have brought a very interesting selection of songs to the table, including more modern gospel songs such as Jonathan Nelson’s “My Name Is Victory,” as well as songs with strong historical roots.
The song list on Saturday night at the beautiful Anglican church on 25 de Mayo, consisted of a variety of popular gospel songs, from an up-tempo version of the well-known “Oh! Happy Day,” to the masterful melodies of gospel classics, such as Richard Smallwood’s “Trust Me.”
While they don’t have a live band, they have moved away from using stand-alone backs and now have highly-talented gospel pianist Marco Gnoatto on their team, who pre-mixed instrumental backing tracks for the entire show repertoire, providing a brilliant musical backdrop for his skillful live piano playing.
The song “The Stone,” sung by guest singer Paula Morel and Finocchi, is an old country gospel song from the south of the United States, which over the 20th century has been adapted in many different ways and performed by many. The version the AfroSound Choir chose to interpret, however, was that of gospel-great Shirley Caesar and Ann Nesby, featured in the 2003 film “Fighting Temptations.”
The glamourous musical grasp of Finocchi, Morel’s gore, the roar of the choir as well as Marco Gnoatto’s fire fingers on the keys made for an excellent performance of the song.
“We Shall Overcome,” has a very interesting history. The choir performed a modern, upbeat and lively version, though its roots it can be traced back many years. One of its stages of prime importance was during the African American Civil Rights movement in the States, sung at many protests and rallies as a therapeutic number during times of struggle. See separate post – History behind the song “We Shall Overcome.”
On an uplifting note, they brought back an Argentine gospel classic, “Again, I Say Rejoice,” modern gospel by Israel Houghton, with gusto. The energy exhumed by Tapia and her all-star singers was incredibly infectious, getting the entire audience on their feet.
Whether or not the entire audience was able to capture the exact meaning of the words of the songs –all the songs are sung in English– the spirit of the words of worship performed the by the AfroSound singers was most definitely understood, getting the audience to join in singing, dancing and lifting their hands in praise.
All-in-all, the choir gave a amazing first performance of the year and have a jam-packed calendar of exciting new concerts to come.
During the show, announcements of auditions for their new mini-choir “AfroSound Kids,” a brand-new gospel choir for children were made. More details can be found on their website.
If you wish to find out more about the AfroSound choir, have a look at The Argentina Independent’s video story published in July 2012.
Link to full story: http://www.argentinaindependent.com/the-arts/music/video-afrosound-gospel-choir/
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