Johnny Clegg honoured by huge SA Music Colllaboration

Over 50 prominent artists came together to record a tribute to Johnny Clegg. This true South African legend has made and continues to make an indelible mark on music history.

Last night the song and accompanying video were played to Johnny for the very first time at a private event where he performed for friends and lifelong fans at the luxury boutique hotel, Ellerman House in Bantry Bay, Cape Town.

Paul Bruce-Brand, Ellerman House’s General Manager and passionate music lover had the following to say:

“This was an extremely unique, powerful performance which culminated in one of our final ‘Ellerman Sessions’ of the year.

These intimate sessions embrace South African talent with fervour, offering a series of personal-storytelling evenings with local icons, from platinum-selling musicians to award-winning chefs.

What a story Johnny Clegg has to share – filled with emotional tales of struggle and hardship, yet characterised by an overriding sense of joy, humour, hope and passion for this country.”

More info about Johnny Clegg

Singer, songwriter, dancer, anthropologist and musical activist, Johnny Clegg’s infectious crossover music — a vibrant blend of Western pop and African Zulu rhythms — exploded onto the international scene and broke through barriers in South Africa.

In an award-winning career spanning over three decades, he has sold over five million albums worldwide, bringing people from all backgrounds together.

Johnny Clegg

When the special version of “The Crossing” was unveiled last night, Johnny Clegg remarked:

“I am speechless, thank you so much. This is an amazing moment for me – to have so many of my peers acknowledge the song and its sentiments, and that they can use that to further something much bigger than all of us. Thank you.”

Last night also saw the launch of Friends of Johnny Clegg, a fund created in Johnny’s honour. The aim of this organisation is to help alleviate the education crisis in South Africa. All proceeds from downloads of this special version of “The Crossing” will go toward this fund.

These proceeds will be distributed by the Click Foundation, which targets young learners with an online phonetics-based programme in centres across the country. This is ultimately aimed at creating a better future for the youth of South Africa — a cause close to Johnny’s heart.

Paul Bruce-Brand explains how it all transpired:

“Roddy Quin, Kahn Morbee, Karen Zoid, Theo Crous, my team and I, together with the other artists in our lineup wanted to do something special to honour all that Johnny has done and continues to do for music and South Africa.

It was natural for us to back an ambitious collaborative project. Never could we have imagined that it would snowball into something as large as it did. Before we knew it, everyone, from far and wide, wanted to participate.

Local artists performed alongside acclaimed international artists Dave Matthews, Peter Gabriel and Mike Rutherford. It proved to be an overwhelming testament to Johnny Clegg and indicated the extent to which he has touched people’s lives through his music.”

Dave Matthews had the following to say:

“Juluka mixed culture and music in a way that had never been done.  It broke down barriers. They joined the forces working to expose the hate-filled cruelty of the old South African system. And their music is slamming.” 

David Kramer had the following to say:

“Johnny Clegg is a great South African songwriter and innovator. A man with his own unmistakable voice and vision. It is an honour to have worked with him and call him friend.”

Karen Zoid had the following to say:

“Working on this project has been one of the greatest honours of my career. The Crossing is a song about courage and acceptance and being able to navigate difficult times because of the love inside that drives you to keep bearing forward.

We, as friends and fans of Johnny sing his words back at him, as to pay respect to him for his humanity and bravery. May this be the guiding light to thousands of children who will benefit from the incredible work done by The Click Foundation, through the Friends of Johnny Clegg Fund.” 

Theo Crous also commented:

“Johnny has played such an integral part in the musical landscape of South Africa, especially in a time when we, as the Springbok Nude Girls, started. I feel very honoured and proud to be associated with this project.”

Vusi Mahlasela had the following to say:

“Johnny Clegg is a true icon of South African music. I’ve always admired his pioneering sound, going back to the early days of Juluka.

He’s a musical soul and he lives his life with the spirit of Ubuntu. I’m deeply honoured to be part of this project, which is going to change the lives of many young South Africans for the better.”

This is how it all went down

On 10 September 2018, many of SA’s most popular and influential artists flew into Cape Town. They shared their time and talent in recording their own version of Johnny Clegg’s “The Crossing” at Mothership Studios.

The song was produced by Theo Crous and mastered in Los Angeles by Lurssen, a multi Grammy award-winning studio. Emotions were high, with smiles all round and a wonderful sense of camaraderie amongst fellow artists and friends. They were brought together by their desire to pay tribute and express their love and admiration for the legend.

Watch this official video for this version of “The Crossing” below:

“The Crossing” has always been one of my favourite Johnny Clegg songs and this version is totally amazing. Not only does this version do the song justice, it showcases the amazing talent that’s out there. South Africa’s definitely got talent my friends.

Friends of Johnny Clegg

Here’s the full list of friends of Johnny Clegg who collaborated on the track

Abigail Kubeka, Andre Venter, Andy Mac, Anna Davel, Ard Matthews, Arno Carstens, Bobby van Jaarsveld, Corlea Botha, Craig Hinds, Craig Lucas, Dan Patlansky, Dave Matthews, David Kramer, Dorothy Masuka, Elvis Blue, Emo Adams, Francois van Coke, Franja du Plessis, Gloria Bosman, Jack Parow, Jason Hartman, Jesse Clegg , Jimmy Nevis, Juanita du Plessis, Judith Sephuma, Kahn Morbee, Karen Zoid, Karlien van Jaarsveld, Kurt Darren, Laudo Liebenberg, Lira, Majozi, Mike Rutherford, Paige Mac, Patricia Lewis, Peter Gabriel, Ross Learmonth, Somizi, Stompie Manana, Thandeka Campher, Thembeka Mnguni, Tresor, Vicky Sampson, Victor Masondo, Vusi Mahlasela, Yati Khumalo, Zolani Mahola.

“The Crossing” is available for download on all digital platforms including Apple Music, iTunes, Google Playstore, Spotify and Deezer. All proceeds go directly to the Friends of Johnny Clegg Fund. For more information on how to support the cause, please visit their  website.

Watch this space for regular updates in the Music category on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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Henno Kruger

Blogger, Desktop Activist, Twitter / Facebook Addict, Music Festival Addict, Avid lover of South African music, Founder and owner of Running Wolf's Rant

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Tom

    I’d like to establish who the quitarists were in the friends of Johnny Clegg’s version of The Crossing? Can anyone help me?

    1. Henno Kruger

      I’m not 100% sure, but Dan Patlansky was definitely one of them

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