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The Blind Boys of Alabama

Waltons World Masters Series

‘They proclaim their reverence in close harmonies and gutsy improvisations that leap heavenward.’
– New York Times

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When Wednesday, 21 May 2014
Where National Concert Hall, Dublin, Main Auditorium
Presented by Waltons New School of Music
Supported by RTÉ Radio 1, Conrad Dublin Hotel

‘Inspired and relevant…borders on the miraculous’
– Washington Post

‘The fusion of the Blind Boys’ Deep South gospel with New Orleans funk, R&B and jazz creates a superweapon of roots-music uplift…’
– Rolling Stone

The Blind Boys of Alabama

The Blind Boys of Alabama are living legends of gospel music. Winning five Grammy Awards, four Gospel Music awards and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award since the year 2000 alone, they have attained the highest levels of achievement in a career that spans nearly 75 years and shows no signs of diminishing. The Blind Boys have earned praise for their remarkable interpretations of everything from traditional gospel favourites to contemporary spiritual material by acclaimed songwriters such as Curtis Mayfield, Eric Clapton, Prince and Tom Waits. Their live shows are roof-raising musical events that appeal to audiences of all cultures, as evidenced by an international itinerary that has taken them around the world.

Ireland has its own great tradition of gospel music, and one special aspect of this concert is that the support act, the Gardiner Street Gospel Choir, was selected through the third nationwide Waltons World Masters Gospel Competition,  in association with RTÉ Radio 1.

Third Nationwide Waltons World Masters Gospel Competition

On 21 January 2014, RTÉ Radio 1 announced our third nationwide Waltons World Masters Gospel Competition, open to all Irish gospel groups and intended to give one outstanding group the unique opportunity to support gospel legends the Blind Boys of Alabama in the National Concert Hall on Wednesday, 21 May, as well as perform live on radio.

The winner of this competition – chosen by the Blind Boys of Alabama themselves – was Gardiner Street Gospel Choir.


African Gospel Choir Dublin

African Gospel Choir Dublin, often known simply as AGC, is a small choir made up of 20+ singers, all originally from West Africa, whose goal is to inspire and influence people positively, to promote gospel music through African culture and to showcase and develop the talents of young African singers in Ireland. Originally organised for a wedding in 2007, AGC has since performed numerous concerts and festivals. Their music blends elements of African gospel, Negro spirituals and American popular music, and they sing not only in in English but also in their native languages. The choir has recorded movie soundtracks and choral music for various artists.

Gardiner Street Gospel Choir

Based in St. Francis Xavier’s Church on Gardiner Street, Gardiner Street Gospel Choir was founded in 2000 and has developed into one of Ireland’s most renowned gospel choirs. This 40-strong group of singers, with a 6-strong band, add huge energy and enthusiasm to the weekly gospel mass on Sunday evenings at St. Francis Xavier’s, bringing the liturgy to life and enhancing the community spirit within the church. The choir have performed in numerous venues, including the National Concert Hall and the Olympia and Gaiety Theatres, and they have appeared on a number of television and radio programmes. They released their first album, One Love, in 2002 and their first studio album, Lift Your Voice, in 2013.

Maynooth Gospel Choir

Maynooth Gospel Choir was formed out of the NUI Maynooth Gospel Choir in 2007, and their reputation and reach have grown steadily over the past seven years. In 2009 this 23-strong group toured Ireland with Jack L, having already featured on his greatest hits album, The Story So Far, and performed with him in such major venues as the Olympia Theatre, Vicar Street and Cork Opera House. They reunited with Jack in 2010 to perform at the annual benefit concert for Console in the National Concert Hall and have also performed in aid of a number of charities, including Special Olympics Ireland and Pieta House. In 2012 they performed in the RDS arena for the opening ceremony of the 50th Eucharistic Congress, which was televised around the world.

Special Commendation

Although we could only choose three Finalists, the following groups were singled out for special commendation:

  • A Glór Gospel • Jennifer Grundulis, Director
  • Fingal Gospel Choir • David Flood, Director
  • Howth Gospel Choir • Celine Daly, Director
  • Monaghan Gospel Choir • David Drum, Director
  • Oblate Gospel Choir • Suzanne Savage, Director
  • The Souful • Róisín Savage, Director

Selected YouTube Videos

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