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TONY COX (article first published : 2004-03-22)

Born in Zimbabwe, the award-winning and renowned Johannesburg-based guitarist and recording artist Tony Cox has developed legendary status throughout South Africa. He has honed and developed a personal compositional and instrumental style that is not bound by any classification. His music is a mosaic that incorporates all of the evocative and infectious rhythms, delicate patterns and varying styles of his homeland, along with classical, folk and many other influences. He demonstrates a complete mastery of the ‘finger-style’ of playing, where the right hand works with precision to weave a tapestry of textures.

Although regarded primarily as a powerful solo performer, Tony Cox’s long-time professional partnership with fellow guitar ace Steve Newman has achieved an almost cult status for their guitar-ripping duo that was first formed in 1981.

Tony Cox’s other collaborations using top Southern African musicians include the Aquarian Quartet which includes four of South Africa’s finest acoustic guitarists. All friendsm they were also all born under the sign of Aquarius. The group is involved in Cox’s acclaimed creation The World In A Guitar using several other musicians that the members of the quartet had collaborated with in the past. This show has toured the country and a DVD, the first of its kind in South Africa – and CD of the production have been recently launched. This big guitar show has already had several offers to tour internationally.

He has been nominated four times in the best instrumental category at the SAMA awards and has won twice, the first in 2001 for his album Matabele Ants and the second for China in 2003. In 2002 he toured the UK where he performed in various festivals including the Lewes International Guitar Festival alongside the finest guitar players in the world.

Tony Cox will undertake a tour of KZN during which he will facilitate several guitar workshops. Having taught the guitar for well over 30 years, he has been described as one of the finest teachers of the instrument in South Africa. Subjects covered include: the art of finger-style, live performance, chord associations and use of, improvisation, harmony, composition, dynamic solo guitar playing or even, how to survive in the SA music business! Through the technique of question and answer, Tony Cox allows each learner to get to the bottom of his or her query and that way covers an enormous range of topics; at the same time he also manages to impart real technical skills.

On March 23 at 20h00, Tony Cox will appear at the Pietermaritzburg Folk Club. More details on 082 377 2610.

In Durban, he will perform at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Jazz Wednesday Trios programme on March 24 at 17h15 (phone 031 260 3385). He will conduct a workshop on March 26 at Coastal Music, Shop 15, Park Boulevard, 11 Brown’s Drift Road. Riverside, Durban North, at 18h30. (Tickets R200, phone 031 573 1818).

March 27 takes him to Southbroom on the South Coast where he will conduct a workshop at Skhumba Crafts at 14h30. (Tickets R200, phone 03931 68212) This will be followed by a performance in the evening at the same venue at 19h30.

Tony Cox will return to Durban on March 29 to appear at the regular Durban Folk Club get-together at 20h00 upstairs at the Durban Wanderers Club, 42 Benson Road, Montclair. Phone 031 465 3339

Those wishing to attend workshops, should be sure to book early.




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