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Video: S. African operatic tenors gain fame

11-27-2012 19:44 BJT

Described as "South Africa's Il Divo" and "Pavarotti's children," "The Gugulethu Tenors have performed at international festivals and shared the stage with local and world-famous operatic stars.

At a busy mall in Cape Town, South Africa, the quartet of operatic tenors captivates unsuspecting shoppers. It’s grassroots performances like this one that have seen their appeal grow.

The tenors released a self-titled album in 2011 but are only now starting to gain countrywide recognition.

Cape town resident Shakier Jansen said, "They brought tears to my eyes, but they brought joy to my soul, and that is what I got this morning. I look at them and I think wow, they walk the streets that we walk, and to think that they can make a beautiful presentation. They just blew us away. They are just mind blowing."

Their career journey has not been easy. Situated 15 kilometers from the city of Cape Town, Gugulethu township was created in the 1960’s under the apartheid system, as black South Africans were not permitted to live in the city.

The townships of South Africa at the time were immersed in jazz and upbeat kwaito but the Gugulethu tenors felt drawn to opera.

They started singing together about 10 years ago while they were still in high school and decided to incorporate contemporary and subtle ethnic elements to make it their own, labelling it Afro opera.

Tenor Xolani November said, "We don’t have training, but however we do have Albert Horn, who is our vocal coach, who is helping us with pronunciation, diction and presentation of of the music."

The tenors say they draw most of their inspiration from their neighbourhood in Gugulethu and that keeps them grounded.

Tenor Mpendulo Yawa said, "In our community, there is a very deep cultural connection with choral, gospel and classical music, and it was very easy for us to fall in love with the music."

They say their next goal is to tour the world to promote their album "The Gugulethu Tenors."

Editor:James |Source:

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