Initiating a one of its kind project that would bring Indian classical and African Gospel music together, Grammy winner producer Robin Hogarth is in the city to record and perform a mélange of the two music styles. “It’s been a long journey, but I think this is the most exciting part of it. Training youngsters and actually performing and recording with them is a different experience,” says Hogarth, the producer of Soweto Gospel Choir albums. The second and third of his albums (Blessed and African Spirit) won the Grammy award in 2007 and 2008 for the ‘Best Traditional World Music Album.’
The music project comprises performances by a group of eight South African children — five girls and three boys between the age of 13-14 years — from the underprivileged section. “After rounds of tough auditions, I selected the best eight. These singers are immensely talented and are enthusiastic about music,” says Hogarth, who is on his debut visit to India.
The project will feature a mix of Sufi poet Kabir’s teachings of non-violence and values of Ubuntu (meaning Universal brotherhood of South Africa.) “From the history of the freedom struggle to the diversity in culture, India and South Africa have a lot in common. If there’s Gandhi here, then there’s Mandela there,” says Indian classical vocalist Padmashree Sumitra Guha, who is also part of the project. She will also be recording for the album.
The group has gone around Delhi and visited places such as Humayun’s Tomb, Old Delhi, Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Dilli Haat. “The amount of artistic stuff here is incredible. The city is full of colours. I was totally smitten by the stuff at Dilli Haat,” adds Hogarth. The group also got a chance to visit the Indian fashion week. The singers are recording in Studio Groove in east Delhi for the album. “Recording together is a fun experience. The kids are amused by the scope and perfection of Indian classical music,” he says.
The young singers will also be reciting Sanskrit shlokas while performing their African dance such as the Zulu at the concert that is to be held at the Indian Habitat Centre. “They are keen learners. I am sure that they will understand the music and will give a stupendous performance,” says Hogarth, who is also handling many television productions at the moment.
Get to know Robin Hogarth
Hogarth is a long-standing composer and producer of music (film and TV), a music publisher, and a specialist in African and Southern African music. Born in England in 1948, he began his music career in Zimbabwe with original bands, after training in piano, choral work, and later in guitar. He has also written for films and TV.
His production — Soweto Gospel Choir albums, the second and third of which, (Blessed and African Spirit) won Grammys in 2007 and 2008 for ‘Best Traditional World Music Album’. The4th album Grace was nominated for a Grammy in 2010. These productions have appeared consistently on the top of the Billboard World Music charts.He has been involved in a wealth of projects, including the Sound of African Mbube, South African Gospel and compilations Ancient Civilisations of South Africa. Another, world music project that he is known for includes Tribal Beatz, a collaboration with drummer Barry van Zyl. Hogarth loves to travel and is on his debut visit to the country. After visiting Agra, next on the cards for him and the group is Jaipur.
Catch the group live..
* What: Gondwana Dawn Concert
* Where: India Habitat Centre
* Time: 7pm onwards
* When: October 28
* Entry: Free
* Nearest Metro Station: Khan Market on the Violet Line
Other Delhi-based choirs:
Popularly known as AU, this group of youngsters came together in 2003 and have performed at more than 50 concerts. The group today consists of more han 150 members. Many productions, such as 60 in a Maze, has been widely performed in the city. They have also performed a Gospel concert at St Stephen’s College, Delhi University.
The Delhi Choir programme
Formed in 2010, the choir invites singers from the age group of 7 to 70 years. It was put together to highlight the cause of a school nestled in the hills in Kalimpong — Dr. Graham’s School. They perform at public places, where visitors are also welcome to join in. They have also performed at the Select CityWalk, Saket in the past.
YMCA Delhi Choir
The choir is an integral part of the cultural programmes at YMCA. Their annual feature and the festival of choirs is the most sought after event during Christmas season. It was introduced in 1971. The choir singers are specially trained in carol singing. The choir performs at various programmes in and outside the association.
Delhi Mizo Choir
The choir, which was formed two years ago, has been performing at various churches across the Capital. Their lyrics, which are in
languages from the North East, are usually in praise of God, They have performed Hringnun Khawvela, one of their most popular
productions, at Green Park Free Church on Christmas and Easter.