Choral Christian


African Choral Music

African choral music is not as popular as it should be, considering the amount of excellent composers and choral pieces that exist. Here at choral Christian, one of my objectives to promote African choral music.

Africa boasts of a good number of choral groups like the Harmonious choral Ghana, the Umlazi gospel choir, the Soweto gospel choir and the celestial chorus choir, who sing choral music of all genres from Hymns and contemporary music to medleys and Classicals

Exploring African Choral Music


African choral music is rich in rhythm, harmony, and cultural heritage. Rooted in centuries-old traditions and infused with modern influences, this genre resonates with both local communities and global audiences. In this post, we explore the rich history, diverse genres, and notable choirs that define African choral music.

1. The Historical Roots

Singing as a Communal Activity

Singing as a group activity existed in Africa long before colonization. Anthropological evidence and oral history recordings reveal a longstanding quasi-choral music culture. Communities like the Ijesha-Yoruba of Nigeria, the Nguu of Tanzania, and the Zulu, Xhosa, and Swazi of South Africa demonstrated an African style of singing based on vocal homophony or polyphony. These group activities were primarily part of social gatherings, emphasizing communal music making.

2. Genres of African Choral Music

Here are some genres of African music and their characteristics.

Traditional Choral Music
  • Rooted in indigenous African cultures.
  • Features powerful vocal performances, intricate harmonies, and energetic choreography.
  • Notable choirs: Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Joyous Celebration, Soweto Gospel Choir.
Gospel Choral Music
  • Blends African rhythms with Western harmonies.
  • Often performed in churches and community gatherings.
Highlife Choral Music
  • Originated in Ghana.
  • Celebratory and lively, with influences from jazz and swing.
  • Popular in East Africa (especially Zanzibar).
  • Combines Arabic, Indian, and African elements.
African Jazz Choral Music
  • Infuses jazz with African rhythms and vocal improvisation.
Township Jive
  • Emerged during apartheid in South African townships.
  • Reflects social and political themes.

3. Notable African Choirs

Soweto Gospel Choir
  • The Soweto Gospel Choir is a Grammy-winning ensemble known for its powerful performances.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
  • Ladysmith Black Mambazo is famed for their isicathamiya style and collaborations with Paul Simon.

Stellenbosch University Choir
  • Stellenbosch University’s Choir is Renowned for their harmonies and diverse repertoire.
Joyous Celebration
  • Celebrates gospel music with high-energy performances.
Mzansi Youth Choir
  • Youth choir promoting South African music.

Celebrates Zimbabwean vocal traditions.

The Cameroon Afro Gospel Choir
  • The Cameroon Afro Gospel Choir is an interdenominational choir based in Buea, South West Region of Cameroon. Their mission is to revamp gospel music and spread hope through their performances14.
  • You can listen to their uplifting music on YouTube.
Harmonious Chorale
  • Harmonious Chorale, a renowned Ghanaian choir, presents a captivating highlife medleys. Some of their most popular songs are “Nea Wode Me Abeduru Ni,” “Nkanfo Dwom,” and “Mida Akpe Na Mawu” by various composers36.
  • Immerse yourself in their soulful performance on YouTube.
Celestial Chorus Choir
  • The Celestial Chorus Choir celebrates the musical heritage of the grassfield regions of Cameroon. Their renditions of beautiful songs resonate with audiences.
University of Buea Choir (UB Choir)
  • The UB Choir, founded in 1993, is an award-winning choir associated with the University of Buea in Cameroon. They have a rich repertoire that includes classical, gospel, and traditional music.
  • You can listen to their soulful performances on their YouTube channel and follow them on Twitter.
UB Press Singers
  • The UB Press Singers are a gospel musical choir based in Buea, SWR Cameroon. They celebrate faith through their uplifting music and dance.
  • Experience their wonderful gospel performances on YouTube and connect with them on Facebook.

These choirs celebrate the rich musical heritage of their respective countries, touching hearts and inspiring listeners worldwide.

African choral music transcends borders, uniting voices in celebration, resilience, and hope. From traditional rhythms to contemporary harmonies, choirs across Africa continue to inspire and uplift. Explore this harmonious journey and let the melodies of Africa resonate within your soul.

African choral music is more than melodies—it’s a celebration of unity and cultural resilience.