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World Music CD Reviews Africa

Various Artists

By Paula Kirman
Published March 20, 2007

South African Gospel
ARC Music


Gospel music is both an expression of faith and song. And some of the most spirited gospel around is coming out of Africa. South African Gospel, a compilation from ARC Music, collects some of the finest traditional and contemporary songs from the region. Many resemble fervent tribal chants, while others are more in the style of traditional choral music, with electric instrumental backing demonstrating more of a Western influence. Likewise for the languages used on the album—some songs are in African languages, while others are in English. The artists are definitely not household names in North America, but several are church worship teams and gospel bands well known in South Africa. Thankfully, the detailed liner notes explain the background of all of the performers, as well as the messages of the songs they sing. Religion aside, this is upbeat, positive music that will resonate with lovers of African music.