Suzanne Vega. Picture: Supplied

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega is heading our way and she’ll perform at the National Arts Festival (NAF) in Grahamstown in July to present a series of “up-close-and-personal” concerts.

Vega is widely regarded as one of the most brilliant songwriters of her generation. Her debut record, Marlene on the Wall, was included in Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Recordings of the 1980s, while her follow up, Solitude Standing, was nominated for three Grammys, including Record of the Year, and went platinum.

“Suzanne’s music is timeless. She has a deep talent that speaks to all generations and is as relevant, poignant and important now as she has ever been,” said NAF CEO Tony Lankester.

Vega emerged as a leading figure of the folk music revival of the early 1980s when, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, she sang in Greenwich Village clubs. After her early commercial success she has consistently and quietly continued performing, recording, exploring and innovating. In 2006 she became the first major recording artist to perform live in avatar form within the virtual world Second Life.

Her 2008 album, Beauty and Crime, was awarded a Grammy for Best Engineered Album - a category that has been won over the years by Eric Clapton, David Bowie, Bruno Mars, Bonnie Raitt, Radiohead and Michael Jackson.

“We know she has thousands of dedicated fans in South Africa and this is a rare opportunity for them to see her on our doorstep. If ever there was a moment to move the festival from your bucket list to your “things I am definitely going to do this year” list, this is it,”he said.

Vega has given sold-out concerts in many of the world’s best-known venues and festivals.

“In performances devoid of outward drama that nevertheless convey deep emotion, she sings in a distinctive, clear vibrato-less voice that has been described as “a cool, dry sandpaper-brushed near-whisper” and as “plaintive but disarmingly powerful”.

This is not her first visit to South Africa, but it is her first to the NAF, an experience she says she is looking forward to.

* Vega will perform two shows - wrapping up the festival on July 7 and 8 in Grahamstown. Limited early-bird tickets are on sale from May 7 at www.nationalartsfestival.co.za.

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