Amazing Grace in a Surprising Place
Whenever I find myself at a show or concert, I always end up asking myself the same question. “Why don’t I do this more often?”
We recently attended a concert at the French Institute and for nearly two hours, acapella ensembles ranging from 5 to 50 people belted out American Gospel of all genres! Say whaaaaaat? Yeah dude. These days, its mega awesome to hear spoken English… but sung- in harmony? It’s a recipe for goosebumps I tell you!
Despite not being able to decipher many of the lyrics (the people were singing in a foreign language, after all) the familiar melodies were perfection in themselves. Two renditions of Amazing Grace were performed, confirming that sometimes less is actually not more. My favorite performance of the night however, was a song I’m calling “Sing Your Name”. I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since I heard it!! It featured a female lead accompanied by a 40 or so person choir behind her… wow. I have a clip below, and although it doesn’t do the performance justice, I must share!
The concert ended with a massive collaboration of all the groups (ages 4 – sixties) totaling well over 100 people singing traditional African songs. Dude, night and day is all I can say. Singing songs they knew by heart, in their native language completely changed the vibe in the room. The level of energy radiating off stage made their previous performances look lifeless.
They ditched the traditional choreography we’d been seeing all night and instead broke out into their own moves, each person grooving however they pleased. One mass of people, completely in the moment… it was effortless and organic. Crazy harmonies with the bass-y vocal beats you associate with African song, people jamming out and clapping to the beat. I would have been happy paying the ticket price for just this final encore, a perfect end to an already memorable evening.
Clip of Sing Your Name over some footage I took driving around Libreville on a public holiday. Streets were desolate – a rare site! Sorry in advance – shot this vertically, oops!