I Love Ballito

Mango Groovin – Travel with Lamb & Claire Johnston

I missioned through the crowd and asked some of our Ballito residents if they had any questions for the legendary Claire Johnston of Mango Groove fame! After recording the questions and replaying them, Claire happily answered as many as she could!

Travel with Lamb – First question – how have you managed to sustain your energy all these years! That’s from my mom – she adores you!

Claire Johnston: Its a lovely question! I think it helps that I was really young when I started with Mango Groove… I was 17, which is 32 years ago (you do the math!) I think what also helps is having people who have come out to see us in this ridiculous weather, that gives energy instantly, that feeds me and inspires me!

Question: Where has Claire been for the last decade? (People have missed you!)

Thats so interesting! For us, we’ve kept keeping on! I guess it’s been 7 years since our last album, and for the last 4 and a half to 5 years we’ve been conceptualising and recording a new album but I guess for people to feel that they’ve missed us is a huge compliment!

TWL – This is where I’m going to slip my question in if I can… Are you on Spotify, YouTube, iTunes – where can I find your music?

CJ – We’re definitely on iTunes, we are on YouTube and we have a lot technical people working on it as we speak to get everything organised so you can find us much more easily!

TWL – My mom was telling me the story of how Special Star came out the year I was born, and my mom is so intrigued to see how much I remember of the 2 Mango Groove albums she used to play for us in the car, so I’d love to be able to find more!


Question – When are you going to sing the National Anthem at the next rugby game?

CJ -Ask the South African Rugby Union!

Question – Do you support the Ballito Dolphins Rugby Team?

CJ – I do now!

Question – Shot for coming out in this weather Claire, you rock!

CJ – And the same back to you!

Question – Can you tell us what it was like playing at Rocking the Daisies? (which was absolutely amazing!)

CJ – RTD was amazing much like Splashy Fen was amazing! These outdoor festivals where it’s often quite a young crowd, the energy is always incredible and you really feed off that energy. Its such a huge humbling experience for us that so many people know our songs and they weren’t even around when the songs came out!

TWL – Thats my next question, hows the reception from the younger crowds versus the die hard fans?

CJ – Its comparable! And people know the songs! People who weren’t even a twinkle in their parents’ eyes know songs like Moments Away which is quite mind blowing… I still can’t quite wrap my head around it.

Question – Your song Special Star, who is that about?

CJ – Special Star was inspired by the late Spokes Mashiyane, John Lane who founded Mango Groove grew up listening to Spokes Mashiyane and Lenny Special – 2 of John’s pennywhistle heroes who really inspired that song.

TWL – You’ve been a symbol for the rainbow nation that we have and I wanted to know how you think we’re doing?

CJ – I remain very optimistic! I’m a big fan of South Africans. We’ve been through so much and we will go through a lot too! I occasionally think we’ll handle it! we have a vibrant democracy and a good constitution and we have The right sorts of things in place to have a bright future!

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