news about music about contact
J o h n n y ...C l e g g

sometimes mother knows best

Johnny Clegg



“His material draws from several seemingly disparate genres on a regular basis to form a cohesive, focused and consistent musical identity. . . . The results . . . should simultaneously generate and sustain interest amongst musicologists and those who continue to hold in high regard musicians who strive for that ever elusive element of originality in their work.”

– Michael McDowell, Blitz

“Clegg’s sold millions of records worldwide, offering up an infectious mix of Western rock, progressive political lyrics, African pop, and traditional African rhythms and influences. Human is a powerful blend of all of these, and should win Clegg a new batch of fans in the US. Recommended.”

– Gene Hyde, CD HotList: New Releases for Libraries

“. . . includes examples of all the styles that have made Clegg’s music so compelling. ‘Love In the Time of Gaza’ is a pop tune with a swinging Zulu/Celtic rhythm and imagines a world where Israelis and Palestinians can live in harmony. . . .‘Asilazi’ is sung in Zulu and English and describes the problems facing South Africa in 2010. It rides a syncopated Zulu/reggae rhythm and balances Clegg’s passionate vocals with rich, soulful backing harmonies from the Soweto Gospel Choir. . . . With Human, Clegg once again shows off an ability to combine pure pop with international beats that is truly remarkable.”

– j. poet, Crawdaddy

“[Clegg’s] themes are at times political, and at time 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.”

– Bob Gottlieb, Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange

“‘A lot of traditional African culture is disappearing as we become part of the global economy,’ [Clegg says]. Some of it is very much evident on Human, in the expansive vocal harmonies of the Soweto Gospel Choir that backs him on the anthem-like ‘Asilazi,’ the Zulu language he alternates with English in many of his lyrics and the skittering electric guitar lines and polyrhythmic beats that abound on the album. This time out he’s also expanded his signature sound to include some grunge-like guitar textures in ‘Here Comes That Feeling Again’ and a pan-global Middle Eastern Afro-Cuban cumbia melange on ‘Give Me the Wonder.’ ‘We know what we can do,’ [says Clegg], ‘It’s a wonderful yardstick and barometer, to understand that we are capable of being an efficient, clear and powerful country.’ The change is apparent in Clegg’s songwriting as well. Where he often wrote in the past about the personal and social dynamics of the struggle for freedom and political equality, many of the songs on Human now center more on finding identity, understanding or love in a rapidly shifting landscape.”

– Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Times

“. . . this South African world beat/popster delivers a streamlined version of what he was up to two decades ago, mixing politics and messages . . . Older but no mellower, this fire continues to burn in his music as this is the kind of wake up call that many will want to heed at the juncture things are at now. . . . Politics, music and the beat are back.”

– Chris Spector, Midwest Record

“Clegg's tunes are full of energy and vibrancy, often achieving a kind of celebratory, triumphal vibe that transcends the sociopolitical issues at the core of some of his songs. The album opens with . . . two tracks that focus on the Western-flavored rock side of Clegg's musical personality and stylistically hark back to his ’80s work. Over the course of Human's subsequent tracks, the South African influence becomes more and more prevalent . . . . Further in, pop/rock production touches crop up once more, but Human closes out on a pair of tracks – ‘Nyembezi’ and ‘Magumede’ – sung in the language of Clegg’s homeland; these are the most overtly South African-sounding tunes on the record, and let the world know where the artist’s heart lies.”

– James Allen, All Music

“The title of Clegg¹s new solo album tells you a lot about both his subject matter and his viewpoint: Human. He doesn¹t necessarily hear the divisions within his music, he just hears music. . . . Even when Clegg is addressing very specific African dilemmas, there is a universality that accompanies the message and, of course, the music that propels the message transcends any attempt to fit it into a particular pigeonhole. On Human, like so many albums before, Clegg is a human making human music. Over the past three decades, few have done that as well as him.”

– Brian Baker, Cincinnati CityBeat

“. . . disarmingly persuasive . . . the jazzy ‘Give Me the Wonder’ has a Latin lilt, the jangling ‘Here Comes That Feeling Again’ is packed with vibrant joy, and the indomitable spirit of humanity is captured in the hook of ‘Love in the Time of Gaza.’”

Scripps Newswire syndicate