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TONY COX AT LUNA LOUNGE (article first published : 2007-05-13)

Celebrated acoustic guitarist, Tony Cox is performing at Luna Lounge in Botha’s Hill from Fridays to Sundays until May 27 from 20h00.

When I was invited to hear him, I had no idea of this man’s talent having not heard him perform before. A treat was in store. I made up a table of family and friends and we arrived early to enjoy the meal that is served before his performance.

After a fine meal of Salmon Mousse, salad, delicious home made bread, followed by a vegetarian Bolognaise finished off with Chocolate Mousse, Tony fingered his way through his starting number. It was awesome in this setting, rich-sounding and, from his first few bars, I could hear that we were in for an hour or so of an outstanding performance. No synthesised ‘additives’, just pure guitar. His opening number Bush Telegraph was the perfect start to his recital. You could hear a pin drop.

Tony needs no introduction to lovers of acoustic guitar music. His fame has spread far and wide both nationally and internationally. I was totally wooed by his obvious enjoyment of performance. He not only plays with gusto and precision but is totally relaxed throughout his performance, stopping here and there to offer a humorous quip.

Blue Grass music followed his opening number. The kind that gets your feet rapping and the feeling that you’d like to get up to dance a country jig. He then performed a condensed mix of Kwela rhythms and Blue Grass which was executed with rapid finger movements and a blend of tricky 4/4 and 6/8 rhythms all in the same song. This he performed with ease.

While Tony obviously has a sound classical background, the way he manipulates the guitar strings and brings in the harmonies is a combination of training and sheer talent. Just to watch those fingers move was an experience!

His rendition of Baby Elephant Walk was a delight to hear and to watch, bringing in a lively bass at the same time as a very tricky, picky melody – like listening to a rapt conversation between two guitars. He certainly has an incredible ability to move amongst the guitar strings with agility, precision and virtuosity. His guitar skills have been described as jaw-dropping. You’ll know why when you see him in action!

Tony will be leaving after his gig at Luna Lounge to travel to Germany where he will appear in the Open Strings International Guitar Festival in Osnabrueck alongside some of the finest guitar players in the world and then on to Canada where he is booked to perform a 28-theatre tour over a six-week period. He not only performs as an artist, he is involved in several teaching programmes and there’s more. Visit his website on www.tonycox.co.za

A little about the venue: Luna Lounge is absolutely charming. It is an outside venue, protected by a tarpaulin and attached to what is the back of the curio shop in the centre, converted to a kitchen and reception area. As I approached the venue, all I could see were strings of fairly lights lighting up the short staircase which leads ‘into’ Luna Lounge. Tables are arranged a-la-restaurant with freshly picked bougainvillea in vases and candles on the tables and the area is set amongst large succulents and aloes. An American deck extends on the valley side which serves as the ‘stage’ where the musos perform from. This overlooks what must be the most magnificent views in daylight – valleys and hills and in the distance the lights of Hillcrest. It was a perfectly calm and warm night with starry skies.

What struck me with pleasure is that this venue is family friendly. Diners/fans arrived, many with children. No formal seating arrangements are made prior to arrival. Owner Debbie prefers to allow guests to select a table of their choice. “Relaxed atmosphere, laid-back yet professional and slick” best describes Luna Lounge. In a corner, two magnificent Macaws raptly watched and listened without a squawk and a friendly one-eyed cat welcomed guests at the tables upon arrival!

Debbie chatted to us at length before dinner was served and told me that the venue is part of a community project, just one of their dreams realised.

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear (and see) Tony’s performance while he is playing at Luna Lounge. To book a table, contact Debbie on 072 280 1949. – Rosalie Howard




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