I may just be a crotchety old man but something about Ndlovu Youth Choir irritates me. It’s actually not about the performances per se, or even the talent. They’re incredible and entertaining. I think it’s in the content and presentation. They’re all about Africa. That’s all fine and good but this is not Africa’s Got Talent! Know what I mean?
I think it’s important to play to your audience, and they don’t seem to do that. Sure, they performed Higher Love, but it was smothered in Africa this, Africa that.
Imagine your favorite college band going into their rivals football stadium and playing their own school fight song. Bold, sure. But then hoping or expecting the rival fans in the stands to give you a standing ovation and love you so, so much… well, that’s just disrespectful, right?
Or you show up to an art show featuring paintings by your best friend. Another pedestrian is also walking around in the venue and all they talk about is this other artist who’s got work in a studio down the street.
Or an even more accurate comparison… a choir from America auditions on Africa’s Got Talent and they are super pro-America all the time. It just doesn’t suit the environment.
Ya dig it?
Then you have the Detroit Youth Choir. I have no weird feelings with them. The strongest feeling I do have is this… They’re the home team who is simply super grateful to be where they are. Sure Detroit is in their choir name, but I don’t get the outsider, oblivious visiting team, our city is better than yours, vibe I get from the Ndlovu choir.
Is any of this making sense? Bottom line: they’re both good choirs, even great, and I only bring in the Detroit Youth Choir as a comparison to the Ndlovu Youth Choir. One is part of the fabric of America, while the othr seems to just want us to fall in love with Africa.
-Out of the Wilderness