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Universal Men

Johnny Clegg & Juluka

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Customer Reviews

Bloody fantastic, bru

To enjoy Universal Men, it's important to appreciate and have a taste for world music, and perhaps some experience with African and Zulu music or languages. It's therefore understandable just why very little Johnny Clegg music ever makes it onto American radio stations, and why he's not a household name all across the world. It's unique stuff. Universal Men was Johnny Clegg & Juluka's first album, preceding Scatterlings, which could probably be considered their first hit album. However, I think it's a more solid album than Scatterlings. It has a strong message that perhaps is not nationalist, but more "culturalist". Songs like "Universal Men" and "Deliwe" lament the assimilation of Africa into a European-made world (ironic, since Clegg was born English and was Caucasian himself), while "Africa" and "Unthando Luphelile" take their respective messages from the distrust and resulting suffering so prevalent in South African sociopolitics at the time. There are also some fantastic examples of mbaqanga guitar riffs opening and interluding in some of the songs, and the overall instrumentation is a perfect combination of Zulu traditional music and Western pop-rock and folk. Standout tracks: "Sky People" is my personal favorite, but requires a little getting used to, with its humming/vocal sections. "Universal Men" has a fantastic Zulu chorus and a thought-provoking message. "Deliwe" is lyrically weak in places but as a whole song is haunting and oddly beautiful. "Africa" is a consistently excellent, musically solid song with a great theme of despair, but hope. Weak tracks: "Old Eyes" actually sounds a bit like "Weird Al" Yankovich trying to parody Johnny Clegg.

Mere words do not give this album justice.

Even though a lot of the songs in this album and other albums made by Johnny Clegg through the years, you don't need to know Zulu to enjoy it. If you want to know what the words mean, you can google Johnny Clegg or just go to johnnyclegg.com and find the lyrics. If you do go to johnnyclegg.com, please read the background information and the info about the Zulu - it's fascinating. This album has some of my favorite songs on it - Old Eyes, Deliwe, Thula 'Mtanami. This is the beginning of a long and eventful relationship between two men who are caught between two worlds, and who learn from each other, and create the most awesome music in the middle of it all. Listen and then go listen to other Juluka, and Savuka tracks on other albums and listen to them mature. They were fine musicians when they originally released this one, and now they are master musicians and they remain best of friends.

johnny clegg rocks

I don't think you really have to undertsna dhwat they are saying to enjoy this music. It's just great music. I reccommend the last song on the album, as well as "Africa", "Sky People", and "Unthando Luphelile". If ou really need to know what the songs are about, you can look it up. But don't worry, they use a lot of English as well.

Universal Men, Johnny Clegg & Juluka
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Customer Ratings

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