Queen of Gospel goes live and direct

By Munyaradzi Vomo Time of article published Feb 16, 2012

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When you become a major influence in the music industry, every head bows at your every move.

For more than 30 years Rebecca Malope has enjoyed this kind of treatment. After recording 32 albums, she is making even more music. Her latest project is something she hasn’t done before.

“On the 25th of this month I will be recording my first live CD and DVD,”she said.

“I have been doing studio albums all my life and thought my 33rd album should be one I do in front of my audience,” Malope explained.

Almost any gospel musician worth mentioning has done a live gospel CD. They are usually a newer artist’s entry point into the game as they get to measure their fans through the crowds that attend their live gigs. They also find out from those very crowds if their music is enjoyable or not. It is like a comedian telling jokes – they know instantly if it was a good night or not.

Then there is the obvious aspect of the gate takings. The more people you get into a venue, the better. In some cases the playlist will be available for sale on CD or DVD outside the venue.

Though these may be the reasons for other artists releasing live recordings, Malope has nothing to prove and has made so much money already that she could retire today and live out her days quite comfortably.

So why now?

“Everything happens for a reason. I have always wanted to do a project like this, but it was never to be. Something would always come up,” she said.

Along with her band, of which some members have been with her for 28 years, Malope will be joined by the Tshwane Gospel Choir in her performances. You’d think the Queen Of Gospel would be backed by more established groups such as the Soweto Gospel Choir, Joyous Celebration or Ncandweni Christ Ambassadors, but she went with the underdogs.

“I interviewed them a while back on Gospel Time and they were a fun bunch to watch. They are a very talented group who keep taking in new members. I loved their initiative to help talented but deprived individuals and I, too, wanted to help them make something out of their careers,” she said.

Malope said she would perform with the choir for the duration of the show. This agreement also saw her refusing to consider any other established artists who could have joined her in the limelight.

With that arrangement sorted out, the next problem was to select the right songs. For any rookie singer this could be an easy feat, but her 32 albums have at least one classic song each.

“It is very hard for me… I can tell you we have agreed on 22 or 23 songs, but I can’t promise that will be final. I keep changing my mind.

“This project only fits about 17 or so songs, so I also have to chop some off,” she said.

• Be sure not to miss the collaboration between the Queen of Gospel, Rebecca Malope, and the Tshwane Gospel Choir on February 25 at The State Theatre, Pretoria. Tickets: R100 at Computicket. The show starts at 8pm.

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