South Africa's Johnny Clegg, with cancer in remission, to embark the Final Journey U.S. tour

South Africa's Johnny Clegg, with cancer in remission, to embark the Final Journey U.S. tour
South Africa's Johnny Clegg, center, shown performing in New York in 2014, will return this fall for what he's calling his final performances in North America following a 2015 cancer diagnosis. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

South African world-music star Johnny Clegg will undertake what he's describing as his final round of concerts in North America as he contends with the aftermath of treatment for pancreatic cancer that was diagnosed in 2015.

The 12-city outing is being billed as Johnny Clegg: The Final Journey and will begin Oct. 14 in Boston, take him to Canada and wend its way to the West Coast for shows in San Diego on Oct. 30 and Seattle on Nov. 1 before concluding Nov. 2 in Boulder, Colo.


"I am immensely excited to be able to bring to my fans around the world an autobiographical, audiovisual and intimate account of my life through my music and the Dance," Clegg, 64, said in a statement.

After his medical diagnosis, Clegg underwent surgery and chemotherapy, and his cancer is said to be in remission.

Possibly best known for his song "Dela," which was featured in the 1997 live-action movie translation of the 1960s animated comedy "George of the Jungle," Clegg rose to prominence in North America in the 1980s with his bands Juluka and Savuka, one of the few South African musicians to place albums on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.

The first interracial band in South Africa, Juluka broke cultural barriers, and laws, during the apartheid era when such collaborations between blacks and whites were illegal.

Clegg's live shows became celebrated for his athletic performances that incorporated elements of traditional Zulu dances that the Britain-born, South Africa-reared musicians learned working with tribes.

His 1988 album "Shadow Man" and 1989's "Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World," released in the U.S. by Capitol Records, both spent multiple weeks on that chart and were part of a wave of Afro-pop music that reached into the pop mainstream for a time. "Heat, Dust and Dreams" earned him a 1993 Grammy nomination for world music album.

Another of Clegg's signature songs, "Asimbonanga," saluted many of his nation's key political activists, including Nelson Mandela and Stephen Biko. After Mandela was released following 27 years in prison, and became president of South African, he appeared alongside Clegg in some of the musician's concerts at home.

The new tour will incorporate materials that the singer, songwriter, cultural anthropologist and activist has been pulling together for his forthcoming autobiography. Those will be part of an audiovisual component of the shows by Clegg and his current band.

A new live album recorded during recent performances in other countries is expected to be released while he is on the North American leg of the world tour.

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