KSUT Four Corners Public Radio's Blog


Johnny Clegg Band set to perform Sunday at the Community Concert Hall

The world beat/pop sound of the Johnny Clegg Band comes to the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College Sunday, May 8, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

Johnny Clegg, born in the United Kingdom but considered one of South Africa’s most celebrated sons, is singer, songwriter, dancer, anthropologist and musical activist whose infectious crossover music – a vibrant blend of Western pop and African Zulu rhythms – has exploded onto the international scene.

Long before Paul Simon introduced Ladysmith Black Mambazo to the world, Clegg had formed his multi-cultural band performing African jazz-pop music, Zulu chants and choreography and multilayered vocal harmonies – songs which feature English lyrics alongside South African musical structures. His 2011 US tour is a celebration of his 30-year anniversary as a performer.

Early on, in the late ‘70s, Clegg and Sipho Mchunu formed the mixed-race Juluka and went on to record two platinum and five gold albums. In 1986 Clegg established Savuka, which by the end of 1989 enjoyed a debut album that had sold more than 1 million copies, plus in 1993 the band received a Grammy nomination for the Best World Music Album. Following the band’s dissolution, Clegg continued on the world stage as a solo performer, then with the Johnny Clegg Band, receiving numerous awards and accolades.

Clegg is said to make his greatest impact with the simple yet incisive lyrics he crafts for his recordings. Issues discussed on his most recent release Human (2010) capture universal emotions, from the simple rewards of friendship and love to the complex issues in the Middle East and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Noted Bob Gottlieb of Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange “(Clegg’s) themes are at times political, and at times more about love and its effect upon us, and at other times he mixes the politics and love together… He is a compelling singer and he has a strong rock pop feel to his songs that have never distanced themselves from the Zulu music he grew up with.”

Clegg was recently awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of the Witwatersrand for his contribution to music. Listen to audio and view video performances of the Johnny Clegg Band at www.johnnyclegg.com.

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