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Canary Gospel Festival uplifts the islands 

The hugely popular Canary Gospel Festival is expected to reach more than 8,000 people across the islands this month.

Having kicked off with sell-out events on December 5th and 6th, there are concerts, master-classes and themed workshops in Tenerife, Gran Canaria, La Palma and El Hierro until December 27th.

This is the eighth edition of the festival and director, Valentín Álvarez has thanked Canary public institutions and private companies such as Binter and la Caixa amongst others for their support.

At a press conference, there was particular delight for La Laguna as culture councillor, María José Castañeda revealed that concerts on December 5th and 6th at the Teatro Leal had been an early sell-out. As a result, they had extended the offer to another day, to December 18th, which demonstrated people’s appetite for spiritual music. It was the first time they had ever had to add an extra date.

Director general of culture for the Canary Government, Aurelio González said the response confirmed the popularity of choral music in the archipelago.

“It’s no wonder the festival is a success year after year,” he commented.

It was, he added, a real pleasure to work with the festival which offered such calming music and these words were echoed by business director for Caixa-Bank in La Laguna, Miguel Ángel García Martín. He said the bank was very committed to social issues but culture was a big gamble.

The festival also counts on the support of Tenerife Cabildo.

The December 5th and 6th concerts at the Teatro Leal were given by the Chicago Gospel Group who also performed a few days later in La Palma and in Costa Adeje.

On Wednesday, December 18th, the festival returns to the Teatro Leal in La Laguna at 9pm with American Joshua Nelson, a pioneer of Hebrew-Jewish music with soul. He will perform with local groups Dan Silva, Little Big Rebel and Just Mery.

Joshua has performed with all the great musicians of gospel and his song “How I Got Over” sold 1.5 million copies. He is also head of music for Oprah Winfrey.

On Thursday, December 19th, he will be in La Palma where he will appear with the Coral de Mazo y Tijarafe in the church of San Blas in Tijarafe. The evening starts at 8pm and admission is free.

Island-hopping again, Joshua will be at the cultural centre Asabanos de Valverde, El Hierro on December 20th, at 9pm, in a concert organised by the Cabildo. Tickets are six euros.

On December 21st, the auditorium of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria also offers a concert with Joshua Nelson at 8pm with a double bill, courtesy of Schola Cantorum. Again, admission is free.

The gospel singer, who has appeared in the festival before to much acclaim, will be giving master-classes on December 17th and 18th in the former convent of Santo Domingo de La Laguna at 6pm.

One of the Canary’s best choirs, Shine Voices will perform on December 21st at 8.30pm in the former convent San Luis Obispo de Granadilla de Abona and will be accompanied by another choir from the municipality, the new venture Estados Unidos y América.

Shine Voices will also perform a charity concert with musicians of the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra on December 22nd in the church of Añaza in Santa Cruz de Tenerife at 1pm.

On December 27th, the Tenerife choir will be in the Auditorio de Guía de Isora at 8.30pm, tickets for which are three euros and can be purchased at the municipal offices of Playa San Juan and the culture department.

For the fourth consecutive year, the workshops Gospeliando will be held by the Tenerife Shine Voices Gospel Association in the Liceo in La Orotava on December 14th and 15th with the American singer Latonius Earl.

The festival is produced by Xenox Producciones. More information is available on www.gospelcanarias.com.