Local singer (25) who worked in music shop to open for Suzanne Vega

2013-10-30 15:16

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Nakhane Touré from the Eastern Cape town of Alice became infatuated with Suzanne Vega’s music while working at a Look & Listen music shop.

Not in his wildest dreams did Touré (25) imagine that one day he would share stages with the American folk singer.

But in a generous twist of fate, the local singer (who chose his artistic name after Ali Farka Touré from Mali) was cherry-picked from a string of hopefuls to open for Vega at the Paul Cluver Amphitheatre in Grabouw near Cape Town on Friday and Saturday evening, and at Montecasino in Joburg on Sunday.

“Never in a million years did I think that I would share a stage with her,” said the thrilled local singer, who now lives in Joburg.

“I am stunned and incredibly excited. She is a gem. The wait is torturous.”

Vega said she had no part in picking her opening act, but looked forward to working with Touré.

City Press got to drop the 54-year-old songbird a line at the Ascot Hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark, a stop on her latest worldwide tour.

She said she will hold pictures of her six-year-old yorkie Molly close when she arrives in South Africa tomorrow.

Technology has changed the way people travel, and Vega said she now keeps cherished remnants of home on her iPhone when she trots around the globe.

“I have everything I need on here, like music, photos of my family and of my dog, Molly.

“Molly is my yorkie. She’s six years old and just has this great spirit. I love her. I always put pictures of her up on my Facebook page,” she said.

The New York-based artist is renowned for her mellow songs with lyrics that paint vivid pictures often laced with despair. She is married to Paul Mills, a lawyer, and has a daughter from a previous marriage.

Vega recently told journalists back in her home country: “In America, we feel a pressure to be cheerful.” She is not known for her chirpy ways.

But during this interview, she was friendly and even laughed a bit.

She said she would like to learn more about South African history, particularly on Madiba, and go on a game drive between concerts.

“The safaris you have in South Africa, I cannot even begin to imagine what it’s like. I have never done anything nearly comparable,” she said.

Vega will be accompanied in South Africa by Irish guitarist Gerry Leonard, famous for his collaborations with David Bowie.

Vega told City Press that she will perform songs from her new album entitled Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Tentacles, set to be released in February.

“I just decided on the name for the album. In a sense it’s about the connection between the spiritual world and the material world. You will see.”

Vega practises Nichiren Buddhism.

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