Sheer Publishing, the largest independent Music Publisher in Africa and a division of Downtown Music Services (DMS), has clinched a global deal to administer late artiste Johnny Clegg’s vast music catalogue.
The Clegg family settled on Sheer Publishing after months of searching for the right people, a statement from their publicists said.
Preserving Johnny Clegg’s legacy
Johnny Clegg passed away in 2019, but his legacy lives on through his music. With a catalogue that spans more than four decades of groundbreaking music, Clegg still stands tall on the world stage.
From the time he began mastering Zulu music as a teenager to the formation of Juluka, Savuka and the past 23 years as a solo artiste, Clegg’s success has made him one of the world’s greatest musicians. He began mixing English lyrics with Zulu musical structures a full decade before Paul Simon’s global breakout album, Graceland.
“Clegg’s music has been one of the biggest cultural exports in our lifetimes. His role in speaking truth to power has been acknowledged by many countries with many of their highest awards,” David Alexander, Founder and Managing Director of Sheer Publishing, says.
“He was a writer who was able to articulate the South African narrative in a way that crossed over to multiple cultures and languages and garnered support for change when we needed it most.”
Mike Smith, Global President of DMS, adds, “Johnny Clegg is not only one of the greatest South African singer songwriters of recent times, but his work as an anti-apartheid activist, plus his support for the indigenous people of South Africa, has been instrumental in showing the power of music to create significant change.
“The fact that his band was the first multi-racial group in the time of apartheid underlines his importance of direct action in bringing the apartheid to a close.”
What the deal means
According to the agreement, Sheer Publishing will administer the music icon’s royalties for the Clegg family, who ultimately own the rights.
Alexander says, “We are very proud to be working with music from an African music industry icon. Johnny Clegg has been synonymous with the positive side of South Africa during some of our darkest days and we are grateful to be the caretakers of his legacy for a new generation of African music fans.”
The Clegg Family added, “We are proud to be a part of the Downtown family and excited that Johnny Clegg’s catalogue is in the esteemed company of other legendary artistes such as John Lennon and Miles Davis.
“We look forward to this special collaboration that will celebrate and expand on the great legacy that Johnny Clegg left behind.”