Jerusalem – Gé Korsten
Way back in 1892, even before Gé Korsten was born (yes I know it’s hard to believe that time existed before Gé), a guy called Michael Maybrick going under the name Stephen Adams, wrote a piece of music to which another chap called Fredric Weatherly added some lyrics and the song, ‘The Holy City’ was born. And what, you may ask has a song called ‘The Holy City’ got to do with Gé’s song called ‘Jerusalem’. Well the answer is that they are one and same, the former being the proper name of the song, but when Gé recorded with Afrikaans lyrics, they chose to use the word in the rousing chorus as the title.
But I don’t want to get into a debate about the title of the song because whether you call it ‘The Holy City’ or ‘Jerusalem’ or ‘That one by Gé about Jerusalem’ it’s still a stonkingly good song if it is sung well and Gé does sing it well.
Many big names have tackled ‘The Holy City’. A quick trawl through Youtube gives one versions by Harry Secombe (The Goon Show guy), The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Jeannette MacDonald, Charlotte Church and Dame Vera Lynn to name just a few. But if anyone in South Africa was going to tackle it, it would have to have been Gé. He had the voice to soar with the chorus and bring out the goosebumps and, although this is a religious song, you don’t necessarily have to be religious to enjoy it, you can just sit back and enjoy the power of the tune and voices.
Gé also recorded a version with Rina Hugo which is also available on Youtube. Now I’ve got nothing against Rina, but I’ve never gone in much for soprano singing, when it comes to opera, I am much more of a tenor fan, but that’s just me. If you enjoy your sopranos (not the TV series, obviously), then check that version out too.
Where to find it
Gé Se 20 Treffers – Gé Korsten, Decibel Musiek (1993), CDDCD(WL)283
Gé Korsten version:
Gé & Rina Hugo: