The Real Eighties: Johnny Clegg and Savuka

One of the things I miss the most about music in the eighties was that almost anything could score, with a little luck.

Some kinds, of course, had a head start. ┬áSouth Africa was tres hip in the nineties – and for a brief spell, South Africa’s jumpy melange of pop styles got some airplay and mindshare in the west.

And one of the biggest sellers – to the extent that there was a big seller – was South Africa’s “Johnny Clegg and Savuka”.

Clegg – an Brit-Rhodesian whose mother’s parents were Polish/Lithuanian Jews – fronting a mixed-race group that pretty edgy stuff in apartheid-era South Africa – was a musical sponge, known as “The White Zulu” who mixed languages and genres like Emeril Legasse mixes spices:

<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

And while it was almost inevitable that the politics would beat you over the head – because politics were an inevitable part of South Africa’s situation at the time – it worked as often as not,and in any case, it was often great music…

<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

…so who cares anyway?

And sometimes being beaten over the head could be fun!

But more of that tomorrow…


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.