Thursday, May 28, 2015

Gospel at Saint-Sulpice Church for the 2015 Saint-Germain-des-Prés Jazz Festival

Simply sublime.

That's my take on the gospel concert held on Tuesday evening at Saint-Sulpice church that was part of this year's Saint-Germain-des-Prés Jazz Festival.

The church was filled with hundreds of spectators and the music got people on their feet multiple times throughout the performance.

Filling the church
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Church lighting
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This concert featured the inimitable Rhoda Scott on the Hammond organ. She played three songs before the members of the chorus took their places on stage.

Rhoda Scott
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Emmanuel Djob played guitar and was the other headliner for the event, undoubtedly due to the success that he is enjoying after his participation in Season 2 of the French version of the reality singing competition, The Voice.

Emmanuel Djob
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Two Paris expats, Linda Lee Hopkins and Joan Minor, formed part of the chorus and also sang solos during the evening.

Linda Lee Hopkins sings "Amazing Grace"
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Joan Minor sings "Precious Lord"
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The performers regaled the packed house with numerous classic gospel songs and spirituals, including "Going to See the King," "Down by the Riverside," and "When the Saints Come Marching in." The entire list of singers and musicians is as follows:

Rhoda Scott : Hammond organ
Emmanuel Pi Djob : chorus leader, guitar, tenor, baritone
Linda Lee Hopkins : alto
Michaël Robinson : tenor
Joan Minor : soprano, alto
Eva Hakapoka : mezzo-soprano
Fey B (Fabrice Claire) : tenor
Rebecca Phirmis : soprano
Sikaa Sidi : alto
Thomas Derouineau : cajon

Djob sang "A Change Is Gonna Come" as a solo during the first half of the concert and later spoke to the audience in French while the rest of the chorus took a break. He sang a song in French, followed by "Georgia on My Mind" infused with the melody of "Amazing Grace." Djob rocked his head just like Ray Charles as he sang this song.

The concert would have closed with Linda Lee Hopkins' solo renditions of "Glory Hallelujah" and Ben E. King's "Stand by Me" (a departure, along with "A Change Is Gonna Come" and "Georgia on My Mind," from the evening's gospel theme). But the audience demanded an encore, so the chorus returned to sing "Oh Happy Day" and "Amen." Mezzo soprano Eva Hakapoka took the lead on these tunes, belting them out with a vibrancy that shook the audience, before the performers left the altar/stage for good.

Eva Hakapoka sings "Oh Happy Day"
© Discover Paris!

All performers
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This 15th edition of the jazz festival runs from May 21 through June 1, so there are still a couple of days left to enjoy performances. Check out the schedule here.


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