Diversity is central to SoundStorm’s values. One of the most successful examples of this has been our partnerships with the London-based Euro-African band, Mbawula, who specialise in big band and jazz-infused South African music. Mbawula’s specialism is massed singing projects. Working with top South African vocalists such as Joyce Moholoagae and Prudence Mampe, they have consistently instilled a joy of singing in our young people. The medium of traditional South African songs has also provided an opportunity to learn about southern African history, its cultures and languages.
Since 2005, over 2,000 young people have taken part in projects with Mbawula, culminating in performances accompanied by the full Mbawula band. These project have taken place everywhere from school halls to the main concert hall at Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts. In the largest manifestation of this project, we brought together choirs from 6 schools plus an adult community choirs, forming a 250 strong massed ensemble.
The project has also produced other notable offshoots, most notably two festivals of Southern African arts and music, ‘Footprints of South Africa’.