Quite possibly Wellington’s best kept musical secret is the world music choir WOSOSI. The 14 strong ensemble recently held a Sunday afternoon concert at Paekakiriki’s St. Peter’s Village Hall and held the audience entranced with more than twenty songs from their extensive repertoire.
During the late nineties, original founder, Bert van Djik, began, via singing workshops, to share his collection of predominantly a capella songs he had sourced from around the world. The Wellington World Choir developed from these workshops, which became, in 2002, the World Song Singers or WOSOSI. After ten years as musical director, Bert left Wellington in 2012 and, fortunately for us, the choir lives on.
The songs are from a wide variety of ethnic and cultural sources and, at St Peters Hall, we heard songs that had origins as diverse as South Africa, Slovakia, New Orleans, Hebrew, and Aotearoa. The members form different ensembles to perform live, for example, the beautiful Canadian song, ‘One Voice’, featured just three singers, while the rousing gospel number, ‘Wade In the Water’, featured the entire choir plus the voices of audience members that chose to participate.
It came as a revelation, as least to this audience member, what power resides in these rhythms and melodies that have made their way down through the generations. The range of songs, and the emotions those songs expressed, was particularly striking. From rousing African chants, through catchy and humorous folk songs, to the sad and very beautiful laments, the spectrum of human feelings was covered, leaving the audience satisfied and curiously uplifted.
The arrangements were exact and the harmonies and timing perfect, with not a wrong note or false start during the entire performance. The choir members obviously love what they are doing and this came across, consequently, it was impossible not to be moved by some of the songs and it was impressive to see a voluntary group present themselves so professionally.
I recommend making the effort to see WOSOSI. News of their live performances are posted on their Facebook page…….