From the experimental desire of staging just one gospel show, to producing close to 25 albums, the growth and staying power of Joyous Celebration is undeniable.
Twenty-five years later, the group will launch its 23rd album over the Easter weekend, with original and never heard before music, while in the same breath kick-starting the group’s annual tours.
And although the group’s formation happened by chance, Joyous Celebration’s role within society has been definitive, and has become the soundtrack to most Africans’ lives, according to one of the founding members, pastor Jabu Hlongwane.
“As Joyous Celebration over the years we have been able to provide hope for people.
“We’ve provided entertainment, formed part of society’s development and became part of the testimonies of the people, becoming the backdrop to experiences of what people have gone through,” and that has been the key inspiration to continue as a group, he said.
“We are humbled by how far we have come because none of us – between the three of us namely Lindelani Mkhize and Mthunzi Namba and myself – would have thought we’d be used by God like this or even come this far,” he added.
MTN Joyous Celebration to launch their 23rd album tour over the Easter Weekend, kicking off at Carnival City’s Big Top Arena. PICTURE: Supplied
Hlongwane says the group’s staying power, over and above being powered by God, is in the group’s ability to adapt within the moving times in the industry, and reinvent themselves.
“What we have done is that we have invested in young singers and musicians and allow them the space to express their musical talents.
“And our jobs, in that entire process, would be to just give guidance in some technical aspects.
“By doing so, we are guaranteed to keep up with the growth and constant changes in the industry, while also keeping to our signature sound and identity,” he said.
The upcoming album launch will be a compilation of fresh new music, but will not carry a theme like the previous shows have.
Themes, explained Hlongwane, are led by the time and season they find themselves in, and for this particular project the focus is strictly on the music.
“We will create a space like the one you find at a family gathering. Someone starts a song and everybody joins in, no set structure but we are moved by the feeling we find ourselves in there.
“That’s the space we are in as a group, a space of jubilee and of celebration.”
* The Sunday Independent, together with Joyous Celebration, is giving away a Joyous Celebration hamper. All you need to do is like/follow us on our social media platforms for the full competition details. Like @SundayIndy on twitter and follow our @SundayIndy facebook page. Good luck.