Sounds of Celebration is back for its eighth iteration and this year, it is more powerful and relevant than ever. For the first time, this unique collaboration between Education Africa and the Sydenham Shul will present an online concert to an international audience.
Sounds of Celebration’s VIII online global social cohesion concert will feature both local South African as well as international stars and groups, singing and performing. In addition, there will be performances by the Marimba Hub Bands as well as the cream of South African youth. The Finale will be a spectacular collaboration of all the featured artists in a celebration of social cohesion across the world!
“SIMUNYE – We are one” will be available across the globe on Sunday 23rd May 2021 as a packaged broadcast, streamed directly into viewers’ homes and community spaces and will be available for a week after the initial screening.
“The pandemic has forced us to re-think how we present Sounds of Celebration, and whilst this may be our eighth edition, I am so excited to introduce an entirely new global audience to this incredible international concert of social cohesion and the remarkable work undertaken by Education Africa,” says David Bloch, long-time patron of this project and this year’s director and producer.
Education Africa are particularly proud and excited to announce features by South Africa treasures and multiple award winners – including Grammy Awards – Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Wouter Kellerman as well as the Vienna Boys’ Choir (Austria), Nina Oud (UAE), Gad Elbaz (USA), The Solomon Brothers (Israel), Gregory Maqoma (South Africa), Pops Mohamed (South Africa) and Justin Wilman (UK).
The concert will feature special appearances by The Syrian Peace Choir (Germany), The Queen Victoria School Pipe Band (Scotland), The Peace Drums Project (Israel) and The Urdang Academy (UK). In addition, Sounds of Celebration fans will recognise returning friends and performers Choni G, Yudi Cohen and Neville Smith. Finally, the concert presents Education Africa Marimba Hub Bands from Goede Hoop, Masibambane College, John Wesley Community Centre and The Dominican School for the Deaf performing alongside King David Linksfield and the St Dominic’s Boksburg Steel Band. In a special feature, Ladysmith Black Mambazo will be presented playing on stage with the Dominican School for the Deaf and Goede Hoop Marimba Bands.
For the past eight years, Education Africa and Sydenham Shul have partnered in an annual fundraising effort to support the ongoing sustainability and growth of its 18 Education Africa Marimba Hubs in a wide number of disadvantaged schools and community centres, providing educator training and safe, creative spaces for learners. Joan Lithgow, Education Africa’s resident marimba specialist speaks about the significance of this project. “Social cohesion is what drives us at Education Africa and in particular our marimba projects. Social cohesion does not just happen! We need to create moments that enable this to happen. There are not too many international events which bring such diverse communities together on one platform.”
James Urdang, CEO and founder of Education Africa notes, “We have been leading with innovation through the Covid-19 Pandemic to continue to deliver on our project portfolio which benefits thousands of disadvantaged South Africans.” By providing safe sanctuary and teaching new skills to young South Africans to express themselves artistically, the project strives to engender hope and provide an ongoing lifeline to potential realised.
The annual projects have traditionally culminated in a live concert comprising an ensemble of young South Africans celebrating social cohesion through music. Whereas these concerts have always sought to bridge gaps in background, and culture, the lessons learned during lockdown have taught us that while we may experience lockdown, we are not necessarily locked in. This year’s concert strives to shatter more barriers than ever before, transcending the constraints of time and place and demonstrating, in a tangible way, that we are truly one.
This celebration of music is produced under the masterful directorship of David Bloch, international Creative Director, Show Producer and Education Africa Patron and Joan Lithgow, Education Africa Music Director and Marimba Specialist. David brings with him a wealth of knowledge taken from his television and broadcasting experiences with the likes of the SA Music Awards (SAMAs), SA Film and TV Awards (SAFTAs) and the KORA All African Music Awards. David will co-host the concert with Layla Kardan (Dubai). The broadcast will include special messages from global friends and supporters of Education Africa.
The Sounds of Celebration team are looking forward to sharing this latest offering with a global audience and to inspiring patrons around the world. “Social cohesion is the mission behind the Sounds of Celebration project. I am excited that this year’s online concert – with local and international performers – will spread this message around the world,” Rabbi Yehuda Stern (Spiritual Leader, Sydenham Shul).