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Johnny Clegg And Savuka

b. Jonathan Clegg, 7 June 1953, Rochdale, Lancashire, England. The leader of two multi-racial South African Zulu/pop bands - Juluka and Savuka - vocalist and composer Clegg arrived in South Africa with his family in 1959. By the age of 10 he had fallen in love with African, and in particular, Zulu, music. His first memories of Zulu music are of hearing street performer Mntonanazo, who performed frequently in his neighbourhood. Later, while reading social anthropology at Wits University, Clegg formed a friendship with a migrant worker and musician named Sipho Mchunu (b. 1951, Kranskop, Natal, South Africa), and in 1972 the two began performing together as Johnny And Sipho, forming their first band, the sextet Juluka (Zulu for ‘sweat’) in 1976. They quickly developed an innovative fusion of fierce mbaqanga rhythms and universally appealing pop melodies. While most Africans responded with great enthusiasm to the sight of a white man immersing himself in Zulu music, the reaction of white South Africans was by and large hostile, and Juluka were engaged in a running battle with the authorities. They suffered from racist abuse, threats of violence and then an extreme shortage of available venues in a country where multi-racial gatherings were, to all practical purposes, forbidden.

Overcoming all these obstacles, the band scored their first hit with the single ‘Woza Friday’ in 1978, by which time they had built up a national following through their formidably powerful live appearances, which included wholly convincing displays of traditional Zulu indlamu (foot stamping) dancing by Clegg. They also succeeded in persuading the authorities to allow them to tour overseas, and in the early 80s performed in the UK, Europe and the USA, where their 1982 album Scatterlings, was released in 1984. During their lifetime, the group recorded seven albums, including the acclaimed debut Universal Men, a musical journey through the life of a Zulu migrant worker, before breaking up in 1985, following Mchunu’s decision to leave Johannesburg and the music business and return to the bush to run his family’s small cattle farm (1985 also brought a European Top 40 hit with ‘Scatterlings Of Africa’).

In 1986 Clegg re-emerged fronting a new group, Savuka (‘We Have Arisen’), which continued in the direction set out by Juluka and, in the increasingly liberal political climate of South Africa in the late 80s, found it much easier to tour both there and overseas. Clegg’s solo career had been launched in 1985 with Third World Child, but it was an album of the same name recorded by Savuka which became an international success, selling over a million copies. A sold out tour of France followed, before stints in the USA and Canada. In the process he became one of the first African stars to appear on The Johnny Carson Show. The 1989 recording Cruel, Crazy Beautiful World saw Clegg upgrade the band’s sound in a modern Los Angeles studio, though his lyrical concerns about South Africa, brilliantly extolled in ‘Woman Be My Country’ and the title track, remained undiluted.

Clegg recorded one further album with Savuka, 1993’s Heat, Dust And Dreams, which was informed by the ending of the apartheid system in South Africa and the assassination of former band member Dudu. Clegg reunited with Sipho Mchunu in the mid-90s to tour and record under the Juluka banner, before reverting to solo work in the late 90s. He returned to the studio in the new millennium to complete the 2002 solo release, New World Survivor. The following year’s A South African Story captured a spellbinding live show at the Nelson Mandela Theatre.
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Report as inappropriate
I purchased a Juluka album while in the Army attending Airborne School (I always had a flare for world music) back in 1992. Loved it ever since.
Report as inappropriate
I saw Johnny last February and he's as good as ever. Gotta love the story behind Bullets for Bafazane and his son is one of the dancers!!
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Johnny Clegg is as good as it gets. Give us all he's got! Thanks!
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heather_barr e t t 8
What about his solo album from 2007? I listen to it every day!!
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I have met and danced with Johnny and Savuka at an intimate venue in Chicago back in 1991. A wonderful memorable evening I shall always treasure as one of my funnest adventures :)
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hogan59
it was definitely a treat to have seen Savuka in concert - animated, energetic - a few decades ago but one of the most memorable I've ever witnessed. More please!
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willassilver
I have loved his music for years and had the good fortune to see a concert too. I am so grateful to be able to hear him again via this wonderful venue of Pandora. Thank you!
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jeanette3559
My Dad played this for my as a kid. This dude kills it. This is the s**t the should be on MTV. Real music
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Is this artist seed based on one song?
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bonhamc
Scatterlings is my favorite allbum too! fav track "Kwela Man"
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oaklandact
I absolutely agree that there needs to be more world music selections and radio stations. A music station for African music would be fabulous.
Report as inappropriate
There is an album called Scatterlings by Juluka. It's one of the best albums ever made. Juluka was not a band that Johnny Clegg "had". Rather, he was a member. "Simple Things", one of the cuts, is my all-time favorite song.
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mdurgain
Johnny Clegg is a remarkable musician, performer and humanaitaria n . More, please!
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Judging from the comments, I'd say that what we need is a station for African music.
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jon6464
Didn't Johnny Clegg have an earlier group called Jaluka(sp)pr i o r to creating Savuka? I remember an awsesome cut from that group (not the name unfortunatel y ) a n d a DJ's comment that the group was disbanded and the tracks were hard, if not impossible to get.
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ib_ebenezer
I agree with all of you - hello, Pandora! More non-Western tunes please!
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johnbl
They have one Ali Farka Toure album with Toumani Diabate as well, but I'd really like some D'Gary
Report as inappropriate
No Albums from Johnny Clegg? and just 2 songs?
Your data base is in serious need of an Up grade
Report as inappropriate
I have to agree, the world music category is sorely lacking on Pandora.
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olotrop
Yes, where is Papa Wemba, and where is Salif Keita? What about Oliver Mtukudzi or Cheikh Lo? There is so little by Youssou N'Dour and Angelique Kidjo, and not their best. These are all big names!
Report as inappropriate
where is Papa Wemba?
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bassandconga
We need more variety in the World Music category like Johnny Clegg. Also, I could not find any songs from the Bhundu Boys - an African group.

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