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Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir Video - Soul at Saint James

Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir Video - Soul at Saint James magazine cover

The Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir have been in touch via Matt Sexton, passing on word of a video they have produced featuring songs from John Legend, John Kee, Whitney Houston that have been recorded by the Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir. Video and info follow below...


'Courage’ is a collection of song and word which aims to challenge people of all backgrounds to play their part in dismantling racism and inequality. It was filmed at St James’s Church Piccadilly and released to watch on Youtube on 1st November 2020.

Between carefully chosen songs, ‘Courage’ features conversation between choir members about the events of the summer and how it affected them, and spoken word from poet and rapper Solomon O.B, the Bristol-based activist who is a visible figurehead at the front line of the Black Lives Matter movement there.

The opening song, ‘Strange Fruit’, was made famous by Billie Holiday, and profoundly protests against the lynching of Black Americans. Two other songs, ‘Change the World’ and ‘Pain’ are from Snoop Dogg’s 2018 release, ‘Bible of Love’, sung by John Kee and B Slade respectively. John Legend’s call to action ‘If You’re Out There’ and Whitney Houston’s ‘Step by Step’ bring energy and hope that change is possible.

Choir Director Clarence Hunte comments: ‘As an ethnically diverse choir, we wanted to respond to the events of the past few months by creating music that would draw attention, with depth and sensitivity to the issues and emotions associated with the fight against racial injustice. Many of us experience racism and we have talked together about the message we wanted to send and the changes we want to see in society.'

The Rector of St James’s Church, Lucy Winkett says: ‘It has been our privilege to work with Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir for many years now, in our services, at concerts and in broadcasts. We are proud to host this ‘Soul at Saint James’ first event focusing on ‘Courage’. In co-creating this event, we pledge ourselves to do everything we can to confront and dismantle the scourge of racism, knowing that this has to start with the church itself’.

‘Courage’ is the first of a new series of events called Soul at Saint James, a collaboration between Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir and Saint James’s Church, Piccadilly. For ‘Courage’ they are also partnering with Lyrix Organix.

Video Soul at Saint James - 'Courage' featuring Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir and Solomon O.B

Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir Bio

Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir was founded by Miko Giedroyc and Tracey Jane Campbell in 2005.  They are a diverse collective drawn together by a love of gospel music and the joy of singing and playing, most often at monthly services held in two central London churches (before March 2020 and the COVID-19 lockdown measures).

In recent years, they have used our resources to support social action causes: working with the fairtrade charity, Traidcraft, the Jesuit Refugee Service and the communities affected by the Grenfell tragedy.  They have supported the chaplaincy at Wandsworth Prison, singing there in 2018.  Last October, they ran a series of gospel singing workshops and led the music in a North London church service marking Black History Month.  The new Bishop of Dover, Rt Rev Rose Hudson, the first Black female bishop in the Church of England, was the guest preacher.

Soul Sanctuary endeavours to explore creative expressions of faith, and in their 2018 appearance at the Greenbelt festival, the communion took as its theme the arrival of commonwealth nationals on the Empire Windrush.  It featured Averill Wauchope, a stowaway on the boat played by a choir member, who challenged a romanticised account of her experiences living and working in the UK.  She described the “mountain of unconscious prejudice” Black people still encountered.

Soul Sanctuary have produced two CDs, ‘With All Your Soul’ and ‘You Are The Key’.  They sing regularly on BBC Radio and have recently worked with Mica Paris on her new album  ‘Gospel’.

We are determined to spread the good news of gospel music and they have a set of resources to enable groups of all kinds to explore gospel music and start their own choirs.  Get in touch via their website to use our lyric sheets, part learning audio files and chord charts.

Website: https://www.soulsanctuarygospel.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/soulsanctuarygc

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/soulsanctuarygospelchoir

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Congratulations to Soul Sanctuary and all those involved in this project. I remember hearing Nina Simone's haunting version of Strange Fruit many years ago.   I doubt there will be many who wont be moved by the message. There have been a lot of positive spiritual songs released this year which address both the impact of racism and  our struggle with COVID. Music has a great potential to both lift us and bring us together . Id  reccomend IDMC , and also the House Gospel Choir  , and The Weather Girls and The Terri Green Project/Cornell Carter and Friends version of 'Whats Going On" . Keep the Faith . Cool Notes. 


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Oh wow it sounds co cool great work and congrats to all involved 


Oh wow it sounds co cool great work and congrats to all involved 

Id have loved to join a gospel ensemble, just one serious drawback..... 

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