Genre : Alternative
Concert postponed to another date
Johnny Clegg - dancer, Anthropologist, singer, songwriter, academic, activist and French knight. Whilst all of these tags are fitting, none of them can accurately describe the energetic, passionate human being who has become one of South Africa's greatest musical exports. He has campaigned against the injustice of apartheid South Africa and been instrumental in putting the new South Africa on the map as a cultural ambassador. More info on Johnny's life and achievements is available here.
Recently awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of the Witwatersrand for his contribution to music, Johnny, a former Grammy nominee, still tours regularly, both at home and abroad. Be sure not to miss his dynamic live act should it come your way.
Johnny is currently travelling between studios in Johannesburg and Europe, recording tracks for his 2009 release which he hopes will be commercially available by October of this year.
Already in his youth, Johnny Clegg, a white, English-speaking person with what he called a "secular Jewish" upbringing in the UK, Israel, Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe), Zambia, and South Africa, became interested in Zulu street music and took part in traditional Zulu dance competitions.
As a young man, in the early stages of his musical career, he combined his music with the study of anthropology, a subject which he also taught for a while at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, where he was influenced, among others, by the work of David Webster, a social anthropologist who was assassinated in 1989.
Clegg formed the first racially mixed South African band, Juluka, with gardener and Zulu musician Sipho Mchunu. Because it was frowned upon (although not actually forbidden by law) for racially mixed bands to perform in South Africa during the apartheid era, their first album Universal Men received no air play on the state owned SABC, but it became a word-of-mouth hit.
Juluka were able to tour in Europe, and had two platinum and five gold albums, becoming an international success. Juluka was disbanded in 1986, when Mchunu was asked by his father to return home and herd the family goats, although Mchunu made some solo recordings afterwards.
Clegg went on to form his second inter-racial band, Savuka, continuing to blend African music with European, especially Celtic, influences. The Savuka albums Shadow Man (which sold 250,000 copies within a week after its release went on to sell more than 1,000,000 copies in France alone), and "Cruel Crazy, Beautiful World" were dealing with more romantic topics, including "Cruel Crazy Beautiful World", where a father gives a message to his son, "Dela" where the essence of love is explored, and more politically focused songs, such as "Warsaw 1943" and "One (Hu)'man one vote" which go back to political messages.
Third World Child and Shadow Man occupied 1st and 2nd position respectively in France and became the most successful foreign band in France and Shadow Man topped the charts in Montréal, Québec, Canada. At the height of the band's success in 1988, Michael Jackson had to cancel his show in Lyon, France, as he attracted a smaller audience than Johnny Clegg and Savuka. Their last album Heat, Dust And Dreams was nominated for a Grammy Award for best album in the category of World Music.
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