THE Drakensberg Boys Choir and Lebo M celebrated after their Lion King soundtrack Circle of Life performance. Photo: Supplied.
South African choirs are currently taking world stages by storm, bringing them to life with renewed energy and infectious rhythm.

Following the Ndlovu Youth Choir’s recent success at America’s Got Talent, KwaZulu-Natal’s own Drakensberg Boys Choir returned home this week after it was invited to perform in a special Lion King tribute in the West End, with legendary composer Lebo M.

The choir performed on London’s famed stage as part of a surprise tribute to the creative team behind The Lion King. The show was attended by cast members who performed in the show during its 20-year run.

Born in Soweto, Lebohang “Lebo M” Morake arranged and performed music for The Lion King films and stage productions, winning a Grammy in 1995 for the production’s iconic song Circle of Life.

The 54-member Drakensberg choir was blown away by the response they received to their Lion King renditions of He Lives in You and Busa Lelizwe performed alongside Lebo M at the Lyceum Theatre.

“When the gumboot squad came out to dance with Lebo M, it was insanity!” said Drakies Grade 9 singer Matthew Beuster.

“The audience went crazy. It was like a million decibels high. It was the best performance I’ve ever had.”

Released a quarter of a century ago, the iconic film is not only among the most profitable films of all time, but it has also become a touchstone in popular culture.

Richard Oriel, general manager of Disney Theatrical, invited the choir to perform in London after seeing a video of their performance of Busa Lelizwe at the school last year.

At that concert, Lebo M was a guest in the audience and joined the boys for a surprise run-on performance, said Bernard Kruger, artistic director at the Drakensberg Boys Choir School.

The all-boys choir from Cathkin Park, in the foothills of the Drakensberg, is familiar with taking world stages by storm, having previously performed at several venues across the UK - including Windsor Castle, South Africa House and at King’s College School.

The school is acknowledged and respected internationally for its exceptional music which it uses to connect across borders, cultures and languages.

Sunday Tribune