1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Just another music list

Is It Any Wonder – Claire Johnston

 Is It Any Wonder – Claire Johnston

Fearless - Claire Johnson

Fearless – Claire Johnson

What do you do if you have built up a reputation as the lead singer of one of the most successful bands in the country that gained popularity playing afropop music and you want to do something a little different? Well firstly, to get away from the afropop sound, you need to get away from Africa and this is what the lead singer of Mango Groove, Claire Johnston, did to produce a solo album called ‘Fearless’. She relocated to London, roped in Vic Coppersmith-Heaven (who had worked with The Jam, Cat Stevens and Joe Cocker to name a few) to produce and got some of Peter Gabriel’s musicians to play on the record.

Is it any wonder then that ‘Is It Any Wonder’ is quite a step away from the African sounds of Mango Groove? Hardcore Groovies would probably have baulked at the seriousness of the song compared to the carefree pop she made with Mango Groove. It has a hard edge, a little akin to the sounds that Peter Gabriel makes. But vocally, Johnston is in good voice, at times sounding like another South African great – Lesley Rae Dowling.

There is a darker brooding feel to ‘Is It Any Wonder’ which highlights the versatility of Johnston. The lush production helps make this a strong song that would have won her new fans while perhaps losing her a few old ones.

Where to find it
Fearless – Claire Johnston, Sting Music (2001),  STIFCD021
SA Top 40 Hits of All Time Volume 6 – Various Artists (2001), Sting Music, STIDFCD037


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