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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

TONY COX @ PHANSI MUSEUM & RIVERBEND (article first published : 2008-03-31)

Born in Zimbabwe and now residing in Johannesburg South Africa, multiple award-winning acoustic guitarist Tony Cox has become a veritable icon of the instrument in his own country. And now the guitarist seems to be working his particular six-string magic further a-field. As of late, he has undertaken regular forays into Europe and Canada and has seen a loyal fan-base begin to develop in the UK, Germany and Canada.

When he was just nine years old Tony Cox began learning and playing the Hawaiian guitar in what was then Rhodesia. This was brought about by one Archie Pereira from Lisbon who settled in Kwe-Kwe, a town 20 miles away from Cox’s mining-town birthplace, Redcliff. In his teens and after Archie disappeared back to Lisbon, Cox changed to a conventional guitar style and later studied the classical guitar for an intensive two-year period. In 1969, the family left Rhodesia to settle in Cape Town and it is here the young guitarist really started to absorb and assimilate the multi-textured rhythms and facets of the rich, indigenous music of his upbringing and surroundings.

He began to compose his own music early and immediately charged it with the African imagery that is very much a part of this unique guitar player’s world perspective. Using all the finger-style techniques he had absorbed over the years from such greats as Leo Kottke and Bert Jansch, Cox honed and developed a style all his own.

Besides being a powerful solo performer Cox has collaborated and recorded with many other musicians to produce two award-winning albums and a string of nominations. China (South African slang for friend) is just such an album. He recorded it in 2002 featuring many of the cream of SA musicians and the album won the ‘best instrumental’ category at the 2003 SAMA awards. He has very recently received his 6th nomination for the 2008 SAMA awards for his new release, Blue Anthem.

In late September 2007, Cox performed at the Open Strings International Guitar Festival in Osnabrueck, Germany up alongside the finest guitar players in the world. Shortly after, he completed a 16-theatre tour of Canada and the USA and has been booked for a string of summer festivals in those countries for 2008

“Be prepared to be wooed by Tony Cox’s musicianship and blown away by the sheer mastery of his playing. He is a compelling performer, entertaining audiences with stories and anecdotes interspersed with his own dry humour. “(artSMart Editor, Caroline Smart)

On April 5, Tony Cox heads south to the Riverbend Crocodile Farm where he will perform with another of South Africa’s top acoustic guitarists, Guy Buttery. Carving a big name for himself performing around South Africa for many years now, having received three separate nominations at the South African Music Awards, as well as being the youngest nominee in the history of the event, Guy has toured, performed and recorded with many of South Africa's musical giants including Vusi Mahlasela, Madala Kunene, Steve Newman, Nibs vd Spuy, Gito Baloi and numerous other African greats. His stirring live performances consist of his idiosyncratic fingerstyle acoustic guitar pieces and sitar improvisations which delve into many genres.

Tony Cox will perform on April 4 at 19h30 at Phansi Museum, 41 Cedar Road (cnr Frere & Cedar, entrance opposite 517 Frere Road) Glenwood. Admission price of R70 includes snacks. Bookings on 031 206 2889 or 083 450 3270 or visit www.phansi.com

Tony Cox and Guy Buttery will perform at the Riverbend Crocodile Farm at Southbroom on the South Coast on April 5 at 20h00. Bookings only on 039 316 6204 (No tickets will be sold at the door.)




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