African Music in Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada


Garth Prince returns to Spruce Grove on March 14. His show starts at 2 p.m. - Photo Supplied

Garth Prince returns to Spruce Grove on March 14. His show starts at 2 p.m. – Photo Supplied

Concert-goers will enjoy a celebration of international music when Garth Prince returns to the Grove on March 14. Dedicated to his love for African music, Prince’s style is rooted in African stories, culture and encourages audience participation.

“When you try to explain culture it can be a dry subject,” Prince said. “But when you use music or food … to talk about culture, it’s the most fun way you could ever learn.”

Raised in Namibia, Prince joined the Mascato Youth Choir when he was 14 and toured Africa, Canada and Europe for more than a decade. He learned dozens of dialects, sometimes performing songs in upwards of 50 languages for just one tour.

“In Namibia, there are 14 languages alone… In the beginning, it was tough to make it. It was a lot of practising and rehearsing, learning the music theory and words,” he said, adding that the group made a point to learn at least one song in the native tongue of each country they toured.

In time, Prince’s role with the youth choir grew and he was featured as one of the group’s a cappella vocalists. The group, dubbed the “Mascato Singers,” evolved over a 10-year period and eventually became known as “Afroshine.”

“We were one of the best selling musical acts in the country for many years, even compared to the pop musicians in the country,” Prince said.


“Afroshine was generally very different from what was going on in the music industry there. The industry was very much driven by hip-hop instruments. We were some of the only ones not following the general trend. We were the alternative.”

In 2008, Prince immigrated to Canada, married his wife and began looking for work in Edmonton.

“It was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make… I didn’t think I’d make a music career here,” he said.

Upon the move, Prince anticipated he would get a typical nine to five job. But, having dabbled in teaching musical technique to other choirs in South Africa, Prince’s network of musical contacts in Canada urged him to continue on in the music industry.

“There are no other African bands here,” Prince said of his style, which he believes fills a gap in the Edmonton music scene.

“In Europe, if you do a performance there’s already a large following of African music fans, in any town or city. I don’t know how it happens, but they tend to have access to it. If I wasn’t doing what I’m doing, people in Alberta wouldn’t (hear the music).

“Somehow, there hasn’t been a transition where Albertans are able to listen to African music (in a live setting). I knew it was something I could help with.”

On March 14 at 2 p.m., Prince will give an upbeat, dynamic and interactive performance at the Horizon Stage in Spruce Grove. This will be his second concert in the tri-area, in less than a year (Prince was a main performer during the 2014 Canada Day celebrations at Jubilee Park).

Tickets cost $20 for adults and $16 for children and seniors aged 65 and above. Tickets can be purchased online at www.horizonstage.com or through Ticketpro.


Source: Karen Haynes|SpruceGroveExaminer.com

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