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The Magic of Suzanne Vega

T.J. Clemente

Suzanne Vega's songs slowly surround you with energy and emotion through her word selection. (Photo: George Holz)

The allure of Suzanne Vega is in her timeless youthful angelic voice that seems to whisper soft tones right into your mind in a very personal way. She will be appearing at Guild Hall at 8 p.m. on Saturday, September 3rd. Ms. Vega - who has owned a home in Amagansett for the last 20 years - resides in New York City and is a fond lover of Central Park, but seems to be of a special gypsy background, as she seems to be endlessly touring the world over the last 40 years.

The truth is she was born in Santa Monica, California to a Swedish-German mother and a Scottish-English-Irish father in 1959. However, she was raised in Spanish Harlem from age 2 1/2 on. She takes her last name from her stepfather Ed Vega, a teacher and writer/novelist who was from Puerto Rico. He passed away in 2008. This mixture of genetic energies and paternalistic quest of intellectual excellence (her stepfather).

As a teen she attended New York's High School of Performing Arts, where Vega excelled in modern dance. She also began writing songs when she was just 14-years-old. The biggest influence on her career may just have been a summer camp job where she met perhaps the muse of her life, a young Englishman who worked at the camp too. He stoked her inner genius in such a volcanic way an array of love songs emerged that she still performs 40 years later and through the words and soft melodies she brings everyone back to perhaps their first epic love. Although it was her huge hit song Luca, about child abuse that propelled her to stardom and name recognition, it is her songs about the intimate touches of love that has fueled her career's longevity.

For too many years Suzanne Vega toured the world with these very personal songs and only in the last few years has she began to write/promote and perform new material that moves away from that fateful summer camp experience. Although well recorded and produced, some of the newest material at times seems almost adolescent; perhaps the way a very serious Suzanne Vega deals with the complexities of an ever-changing world. She knows the world; her tour schedule has her everywhere and then there again. Now happily married in her second marriage with a grown daughter (Ruby) from her first marriage, perhaps Suzanne Vega's scope of heartache and lonesomeness are of low portions. Many believe those two states of mind help create the best lasting songs. Yet her composition and word selection both haunts and entices deep thoughts. Suzanne Vega's songs slowly surround you with energy and emotion through her word selection. She is a poet. Her shows are song performances with some sort of conversation that connects the show to present day events and recent occurrences in the musician's life at the moment. With her keen wit she shares her thoughts about the song she is about to perform.

Vega has another new album coming out in October to follow her last release (Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles in 2014). Through the last 30 years I have watched Suzanne Vega perform many times at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett, and most recently in Patchogue where she introduced all the songs from her last release in 2014. I enjoy her skillful guitar playing and am always touched by her whispering but powerful voice. Buying either a ticket for her Guild Hall show or her albums/CD/downloads is forcefully recommended because she is a genuinely gifted singer-composer.

Whether she is touring with an accomplice or a small band, or even just by herself her shows project perfection and excellence. To hear Suzanne Vega perform in the intimacy of Guild Hall should be a treat with its great acoustics and perfect sight lines. This is an unique opportunity to absorb Suzanne Vega's talent. Luckily her voice is still in the best form, no sign of aging! Although she has also played a huge role in so many other art forms all over the world through the years, the focus of this write-up was Vega as a musical artist. She is an original artist in a world of too many fakes.

Tickets begin at $55 and $53 for Members.

Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, call 631-324-0806 or visit www.guildhall.or.

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