Johnny Clegg: still political, after all these years

South African musician Johnny Clegg – often referred to as the “white Zulu” – will perform with his band at the Cedar Cultural Center this Thursday.

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Johnny Clegg dances on stage with his longtime backup singer Mandisa Dlanga, with whom he has worked for 26 years.

Image courtesy of Appleseed Recordings

Known for taking a stance against apartheid with the mixed-race band Juluka, but as Euan Kerr reports, today’s more peaceful political climate still inspires Clegg’s craft:

The age of apartheid is over. But Clegg says South Africa faces the struggles common for any young democracy. It’s all fodder for new music.

“I just feel that I am still learning,” he said. “I am seeing stuff that I thought would never happen.”

Clegg says he’s not as driven as he once was to react daily to what he sees around him. But he still writes regularly after what he calls a more gentle process.

“Finding common threads of culture, common threads of humanity, common threads of melody, common threads of rhythmic polyphony,” he said, “those are things that have always intrigued me.”

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