Suzanne Vega Concert at Paul Cluver

New York-born ’Luka’ singer heads to Elgin for two summer concerts in this magical outdoor forest theatre


American folk singer Suzanne Vega takes to the stage for the first two open-air shows of the Paul Cluver Summer Concert Series season on Friday, 1 and Saturday, 2 November 2013.

Raised in Spanish Harlem in New York, Vega is largely responsible for pioneering the neo-folk genre that paved the way for a string of observational acoustic female vocalists and songwriters, including Tracy Chapman, Michelle Shocked and Edie Brickell, to hit the airwaves during the ‘80s. Now, more than three decades later, Vega is best known for her catchy sing-along tunes and the heart-wrenching tales within her songs. Interestingly, her global hit ‘Tom’s Diner’ was originally used as a reference track during the early stages of the MP3 compression system, thus earning her the moniker “The Mother of the MP3”.

As a youngster, Vega was heavily influenced by her parents’ mix of motown, bossa nova, jazz and folk, but as she grew older she fell under the spell of the poetry of folk songs and the lyrical storytelling of greats like Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan. Though she learnt to play the guitar at 11 and started writing songs in her teens, it wasn’t until she attended a Lou Reed concert in 1979 that she formed her unique style and started performing her own material at the Greenwich Village Songwriter’s Exchange and other iconic clubs in the New York.

Eventually, after rejecting her demo tape twice, A&M Records released her self-titled debut album in 1985. While record company executives were still skeptical as to how successful a folk album would be, Vega’s song ‘Marlene on the Wall’ was an international success and went on to be included in Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Recordings of the 1980s”. It was her 1987 album, “Solitude Standing”, that catapulted Vega to star status though. The collection featured the critically acclaimed song ‘ Luka’ and the aforementioned ‘Tom’s Diner’, garnered three Grammy nominations and topped the charts both in America and the UK.  

Now, with seven albums under her belt, the songstress has spent the past three years re-recording her back-catalogue to form part of a series titled “Close-up”. Each volume focuses on a theme and includes her most popular hits as well as unrecorded material.  

Needless to say, reviewers have asserted that the famed songwriter’s voice has matured exquisitely, and audiences can truly look forward to a melodious occasion.

Take along a picnic basket, some cushions, blankets and something warm to put on for the cooler nights and get ready for a memorable event in an awe-inspiring venue. Food, drinks and wine will be available for purchase from the various vendors, or patrons can book a gourmet picnic from the estate’s eatery, Fresh Restaurant. Do note, alcohol brought from home will not be allowed into the amphitheatre.

Tickets for the Suzanne Vega Concert at Paul Cluver

Tickets cost R450p/p (children pay full price) for each of the shows and are available from all Computicket outlets and Computicket.com. A portion of the proceeds from the concerts will be donated to the Thembalitsha Foundation.

There are no ticket pick-ups on the day at the gate; concert-goers must collect their tickets at Computicket outlets before the event. No more than 600 seats are available in the amphitheatre and they’re unreserved; get there early to enjoy the views and secure the best spots.

The concert on Friday, 1 November starts at 8pm, and the show on Saturday, 2 November kicks off at 7pm; gates open two hours before the performance. Do note that the theatre closes at 10pm, and fold-up chairs, tables and prams are not permitted in the amphitheatre.

 

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by Meagan Hamman
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