Utter the word ‘Gospel’ here and most locals have no idea what you’re talking about. What’s more, even when mentioning live gospel music concerts to most expats and tourists, most presume the groups were international, baffled at the prospect that gospel music would even remotely exist here in Argentina.
Believe it or not, the gospel music scene is big, and it’s only gaining force and pace.
The long-time gospel group the Córdoba Gospel Singers still reigns as the most popular Argentine gospel group in the music market, with three recorded albums under their belt and some impressive live collaborations, including with the likes of the Harlem Gospel Choir on their visit to New York City in 2006. Also in 2010 the group won a Gardel music award, the highest regarded prize for musicians, for their third and latest album, ‘Uno’.
Currently, the group continues to perform regularly in Córdoba, carry out tours around Córdoba province and make an appearance or two every year in Buenos Aires.
BA Gospel scene
In the capital, the last few years have seen gospel music explode, with many vocal groups and choirs performing shows across the city.
The pioneer group of the genre was El Coro Gospel de Argentina, which saw fantastic success from the end of 2008 to the end of 2011. Led by top choir director Natalia Belbey and mega producer Franco Gandullo, the choir started with some 40 singers, and at its peak, reached over a hundred members.
During its three-year span, El Coro Gospel performed in theatres, stadiums, churches, concert halls and smaller venues. Furthermore, the group made countless local radio appearances and also recorded a CD, ‘This Is How We Do It’, which was released in 2010.
As well as collaborations with big local artists such as Felipe Herrera, Bob Telson, Dancing Mood and Deborah Dixon, the choir gained international media recognition, appearing on CNN Latin America and the BBC in London.
Even so, the choir was closed at the end of last year, leaving a huge amount of singers and audiences hungry for gospel music.
With some members parting ways to focus on smaller vocal projects/solo careers, others decided to continue and this year, two fierce new gospel groups, The AfroSound Choir and the Coro Gospel Joy are beginning to blaze the BA music scene.
New waves of BA gospel music
Led by the dynamic mother-daughter duo Caterina Finochi and Claudia Tapia, The AfroSound Choir opened at the beginning of this year and has a whopping 60 members. With a pure message of faith and prosperity, alongside performing concerts, they are also working to promote their own charity project labelled, ‘Everyday Something For Someone’, in which they use their shows to help with donations for the homeless.
The Coro Gospel Joy, led by the talented Amado Acosta and Victoria Ponisio, currently have 40 members are much more a concert gospel choir, playing in theatres and churches. The group kicked-started their year by appearing alongside Argentina’s biggest Beatles tribute band The Beats at the Gran Rex in May, and have a full agenda for the rest of the year.
The Coro Gospel Joy’s concert premiere is on 8th July at 7pm. They are playing at the Garrick Theatre at Av. Avellaneda 1359 in Caballito. Tickets can be bought in advance by sending an email to: email@example.com or by heading down to the theatre’s box office.