African choral music stems from the tension and the mixing of “black” African and “white” European and American culture. It combines elements of original rhythms and elements of classic and modern gospels and spirituals and integrates jazz and blues harmonies.
The repertoire of Lesedi Show Choir reflects African life. Many of the songs are gospels, but there are also songs about daily life and love songs. In their songs the African life is reflected, they tell of the small and large joys, express pain and despair, give evidence of Africa’s deep faith and the relationship between man and woman, sometimes with romance, sometimes with irony. Some of the songs are from Johnny Clegg, the choir’s style is certainly influenced by Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Thabang Mokoena collects songs, or sometimes just melodies and rhythms that reflect African life, re-arranges them and enriches them for a unique choir format. All songs are accompanied by their own choreography and performed by the choir in a spirit of togetherness. Most songs have a calling and answer structure leading to a dynamic choir format. Often the voices – soprano, alto, tenor and base – go parallel and are blended automatically by the choir. This gives the lead and solo singers enough room for powerful improvisations.
Most of the songs have their origins in Southern Africa, but Lesedi Show Choir’s repertoire also comprises songs from East and West Africa. As a consequence, the Lesedis sing in a variety of languages, such as IsiZulu, Sesotho, Xhosa, Setswana, Sepedi, Tsonga, Swahili, Gha, Fanti, English and other languages.