I admit that I was late getting on the train, becoming a fan, but I first heard international music star Johnny Clegg about three years ago up in Canada at an event called the Burnaby Blues Festival. Clegg is one of the most successful, bold and daring of all of the "world music" performers. Clegg and his band will be at the Mount Baker Theater, here in Bellingham, tomorrow night -- April 27, 2011.
Clegg was born in the UK and moved to south Africa as a child. He learned to play the guitar at age 14. And, together with a Zulu musician who came to Johannesburg for work, Clegg did something that was, at that time in South Africa, illegal. He formed the country's first multi-racial band. Clegg, who has been the leader of more than one group over the years, has both Platinum and Gold albums, multi-million sellers.
His music is hard to categorize. It is a cross between Western pop and African music. In some ways it reminds me of reggae, but it is different. Many of his songs, while filled with a great beat, are political and involve apartheid or Nelson Mandela.
If you watch the video below, you will understand how important Clegg was in the politics of Freedom in South Africa when you see the famous guest who comes dancing out onto the stage during this live performance.