Johannesburg - During my hour-and-a-half drive from Joburg to visit my mother in Mpumalanga, I decided that Joyous Celebration 20 Part 2: The Alumni sounded a bit repetitive. But then something blessed happened.
When I found mother having tea with her friends as they discussed the preparations for the Methodist Church Easter services, I decided to play the CD as background music while they chatted.
The album includes traditional hymns from various churches, some rewritten and adapted with a faster or slower tempo, and were immediately recognised by the visitors, who were mostly in their sixties. In fact, the CD disrupted a rather peaceful afternoon gathering and turned it into a mini Easter Joyous Celebration festival.
The beauty of this album is that most of the songs are favourites that encourage singing along, such as Noyana, Tshohle and Iyo Calvary – to mention just a few.
I also found myself singing as I remembered lyrics from traditional songs such as Elethu Basha/Ivangeli Elakudala and Reneilwe Matla, which I sang in assembly throughout school.
See one of the songs on the album here:
This album was described by my mother and her gospel music loving friends as “one of the best and most beautiful” available.
The women also recognised some of the older voices in the Joyous Celebration family and debated whether the musicians had returned to sing in the choir or were invited as guests to celebrate the 20-year anniversary.
Joyous Celebration was started by Lindelani Mkhize, Jabu Hlongwane and Mthunzi Namba, and scores of gospel fans have remained loyal over the years.
Mkhize told City Press two weeks ago that he was surprised to see how the project had thrived over the years – the trio had not planned to sustain it beyond the initial gathering.
As it grew, new gospel voices were discovered and many young, talented musicians were mentored. They were trained for two years to give them a break into the industry and to empower them individually.
Having shared the CD with the project’s “real fans”, I can safely say that it won’t disappoint the audience it’s intended to serve.
The problem is, I promised my mother and her visitors each a copy of the CD while I was caught up in the spirit of the songs. But it’ll be money well spent.