Chris de Burgh

Munya Vomo

Chris de Burgh is a legend with the incredible ability to remain relevant even after decades in the game. If the tickets sales to his South African concerts in April are anything to go by, then the man is still very much in demand.

“I was fortunate to be in South Africa before and I must say that we know it’s not a perfect country, but I have always been impressed when I come there, not only by the natural beauty, but also the people. There is a positive hope in their hearts and after touring there many, many times I really can’t wait to come back,” said the softly-spoken singer.

“I lived in Africa myself, in Nigeria and what was the Belgian Congo, so I am very interested in the history and current affairs,” he added.

With regards to his tour, De Burgh could not hide his elation and spoke about what his fans could expect.

“This is a very powerful show because I am drawing strength from my material from my first album, Spanish Train and other Stories. I am also an active person when it comes to making new music, with my latest album being The Hands of Man, so I am a person who doesn’t dwell on the past too much as I go with all the music that I have been making throughout my career. This concert is a strong one and sometimes people get into my shows expecting to see me playing Lady in Red in a tuxedo, but that’s not the case. This is a rock ’n’ roll show. We want to get you dancing and it’s a powerful show that will get you on your feet,” he said.

While it is understandable that he is a legend, De Burgh so far has more than nine tour dates confirmed in several cities in the country and is quite surprised.

“I am not sure what’s going on with the shows there. The Joburg dates seem to be increasing every other week. I think it is absolutely amazing and I am delighted. There are some territories like Canada and Germany where I have huge support, but I don’t know why South Africa is this big on my material. If I were to guess, then I think it has to do with the fact that people are fed up with the sanitised music that has been fed to them over the past 10 years and they want something real,” he speculated.

As a strong songwriter, De Burgh prides himself in committing to serious methods of penning his material, something seldom seen these days.

“I get people who say they love the stories and the ideas I put in the songs. It is not the usual boy-meets-girls and they tell each other about love. I even attract young people who also come with their grandfathers to the shows. So we get that generational cross-section which makes things interesting. On the last album, I had a song called The Keeper of the Keys. The track is allegorical where a woman is locked in a prison. Yet the jail I am referring to is that of how women are generally oppressed by men in some cultures. They have them go through appalling genital mutilation, force women to dress in a certain way or deny them education. So I don’t say what I just said in the song in literal terms, but I create the story around it which has a bigger impact,” he explained.

Since he will be here for most of April, De Burgh will partake in his favourite pastime – wine.

“I have been to Constantia, Stellenbosch and Paarl where I tried a lot of wines. People call South African wines ‘new wines’, yet they are not. They are from the 1600s when the Dutch settlers arrived and started planting vines. So there are some terrific choices which I am looking forward to, both white and red,” he said.

The dates of the Chris De Burgh tour: Joburg: April 2, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10; Port Elizabeth: April 14 and 15; Cape Town: April 17. For ticket prices and additional dates, see Computicket.