The ladies of Les Gemmes, The Jewels and family, Back row l-r: Charlotte Mann, Alana Shannon, Majesty Ford Victoria Green, Janice Woodard, Ashley Roby; front row l-r: Pat Rees, ShaNiyah Lee, Mylan Alexander, Dr. Phyllis Qualls, Andrea Howard, Debbie Hirsch, and Alayna Mitchell

By Victoria Green

Jewel Andrea Howard with two of the South African Youth Choir performers.

NASHVILLE, TN — The ladies of Les Gemmes Inc., Nashville Chapter and The Jewels experienced the harmonizing sound of the Ndlovu South African Choir. The Choir had us on the edge of our seats. The colorful African attire and rhythmic dancing captured our attention at Nashville Schermerhorn Symphony Center. 

The Ndlovu Youth Choir is a South African musical group founded in 2009 by Ndlovu Care Group childcare community based in Elandsdoorn, Limpopo. The Ndlovu Youth Choir aims to create a place of comfort and care and strives to nurture values such as self-discipline, self-confidence, tolerance, respect and leadership. 

The Ndlovu Youth Choir sings songs in all 11 South African languages which include Zulu, Xhosa and English. The choir’s music incorporates traditional South African genres such as isicathamiya, a style popularized by Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Their repertoire also includes ancient tribal chants, inspirational gospel, contemporary Afro-Pop and Jazz by globally acclaimed South African artists such as Hugh Masakela and Miriam Makeba, as well as original songs describing African life with a call for African unity.

Ndlovu Youth Choir’s audition in Episode 14 of America’s Got Talent, advancing them to the quarterfinals, semifinals, and then the finale. The group advanced to top five, eliminating them from the competition. After the show the Youth Choir signed a record deal with Syco Music and Sony Music Africa.  Their debut album, “Africa,” was released on November 29, 2019. 

Jewel Lailah Shabazz, left, and Gemme Janice Woodard, right, with South African Choir performers.

The Jewels Experience: “On November 6, I went to Schermerhorn Symphony Center to watch the performance of NDLOVU Youth Choir. My thoughts on this performance are they were very entertaining. I enjoyed how they kept the same energy from the beginning to the end of the show, the singing was spectacular. They were all very friendly after the show and allowed you to take pictures with them.”   — Shaniya Lee 

“I had awesome experience, watching the Ndlovu Youth Choir perform. It was so inspiring watching the performers, who were very close to my age, perform in front of a very large audience. I also had an opportunity to personally meet several choir members and learn about their tour experience and personal journeys in South Africa. The Choir represented South Africa beautifully with their voices and talent. The entire audience felt every emotion behind their voices and powerful messages within the songs, leading us all to our feet in praise!”    — Lailah Shabazz

“I really enjoyed seeing the South African Choir, it was very interesting and entertaining. I love the way they integrated modern, classic, and traditional music to create a lively atmosphere and experience.”   — Alayna Mitchell

“The South African Choir was amazing. I had such an amazing time seeing all the dances and singing from the choir, and not to mention getting to meet them personally was great! I had such a fun time and would love to see them perform again anytime they’re in Tennessee!”  — Andrea Howard 

“It was amazing! Very entertaining and enthusiastic. And the story of how they walk to practice and that they have no musical training then seeing them perform together and one by one was a sight to see and very magical so happy I went!”    — Majesty Ford 

“The NDLOVU performance was a spectacular experience. Seeing the dancers and listening to the harmonies was mesmerizing. I would definitely go see them again!”  — Mylan Alexander

The South African Youth Choir was an experience we will never forget.