Chechelele, pronounced cheh-cheh-leh-leh, is a word from the South African Ndebele language meaning ‘Happy’. Chechelele is a York Based SATB Acapella World Music Choir specialising in singing traditional songs from around the world. Nicola Betts has been the Musical Director for Chechelele since September 2023.

Chechelele is a unique, colourful, dynamic and vibrant choir. They entertain thoroughly with their amazing four part singing, complex rhythms, use of movement, actions, percussion and plenty of ululation (high pitched trilling). Our repertoire of songs is wide and diverse, embracing themes of love, celebration, hymns, freedom struggles, spirituals etc

World Music Choir

Founded in 1994 by John Low, a York-based singer and musician who spent his early years living in Kenya and wanted to form a group singing the songs he grew up with and loved. Traditional African rhythms and songs form the core part of our repertoire - but we also sing songs from all over the world and just about every continent. Our current list includes songs from Bulgaria, Georgia, Macedonia, China, France, Finland, Israel, Hawaii, New Zealand, Fiji, Columbia and the Amazon. We also have a fair sprinkling of spirituals and gospel music from the Southern States as well as the odd political number and sometimes just songs we like that don’t fall into any particular category.


Singing in a group setting offers a multitude of benefits. It is good for our emotional, physical and social wellbeing in so many wonderful ways. As well as helping to reduce depression and anxiety, it also helps to foster social connections because singing in a group cultivates a sense of community and belonging. Community is at the very core of Chechelele. A community who share a heart for one another and also learning and performing songs from all over the world, which opens up a rich tapestry of cultural exploration and appreciation. Our choir practices and performances benefit our physical wellbeing too! Many of our songs and weekly practices are lively and energetic and we work hard on breathing techniques and breath control. Inclusive, energetic, vibrant and fun, Chechelele certainly know how to celebrate the beauty of global diversity through music and song!

Chechelele, pronounced cheh-cheh-leh-leh, is a word from the South African Ndebele language, meaning 'Happy'.

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Location, Day & Time and other information

Chechelele meet for weekly practices on a Tuesday evening at the York Steiner School in Fulford. 8-9.30pm

Songs are generally learnt by ear so you do not have to be able to read music to sing with Chechelele.

All songs are performed without scores, from memory.

There is management committee who deal with admin and musical decisions and they are assisted by all members of the choir who participate in organising events.

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As a choir we have performed in concert halls, village halls, festivals, churches, cathedrals, abbeys, amphitheatres, ruins, campsites, barns, pubs, parks, gardens, train stations, streets, shops… in fact, anywhere we can. We’ve even sung at UK folk and world music festivals including Bromyard, Towersey, Warwick, Off the Tracks, Beverley, Musicport, Bridlington and Otley as well as the Plozovet Festival in Brittany and the Edinburgh Fringe.

I woke up this morning



River to pray


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