Copyright © Tony Cox 2014
Multiple award-winning Acoustic guitarist Tony Cox is known throughout South Africa for his work as a performer, recording artist, and teacher. Tony began his studies on the guitar when he was 9 years old. This means he has been playing the guitar for 51 years and 32 of those were spent teaching the instrument.
Adept at many different styles of music, any student studying with Tony will develop a healthy appreciation of just how the acoustic guitar can straddle many different genres, among them folk, blues, pop, classical, rock, jazz, African, country, bluegrass and celtic.
The theory of music as applied to the guitar makes up a big part of Tony's teaching. Students can expect to study: reading (notes and TAB), keys, chords, harmony and improvisation.
The sight of a 10-year-old boy hitch-hiking along one of Redcliff's dusty back roads in what was then Rhodesia and is now Zimbabwe, with a large dreadnought guitar over his shoulder was not unusual for the locals of this tiny iron-ore mining town. So placid and crime-free was the environment back then that there were absolutely no concerns over a boy so young hitch-hiking on his own with a guitar as tall as he was, to get to the town of Kwe-Kwe for his weekly guitar lesson. The major concerns really were wild animals such as leopards, baboons and the odd poisonous snake. The boy though had been exposed early to much bush-craft by his avid hunter father and had an already well-developed sense of how to move through the African landscape with an eye for any potential dangers.
This weekly ritual, hefting a big, six-string guitar from the one town to the other was part of the early
'One of the first important non-traditional, South African guitarists’ - Mickdotcom, Muse 2013
‘The strength and precision of what
emerges from this man's Mervyn Davis
guitar is quite breathtaking' - Andrew
Smith, The Press and Journal, Scotland,
'Seeing the South African musician
perform at the Stan Rogers Folk Festival last summer was a truly dazzling experience' - Stephen Cooke,
The Chronicle Herald, Nova Scotia - 2009
Canada - 2009
'Lewes Guitar Festival has been delighted to invite guitar maestro Tony Cox to perform twice at our festival over the last few years - he's simply an entrancing performer who has that special knack of engaging all his audience while at the same time delivering a highly skilled and entertaining show. Highly recommended...'
Laurence Hill, Festival Director, Lewes,
UK - 2006
‘Put a party together and go have your
mind blown to bits (and reconstructed) by a musician who is well on his way to becoming a living legend’ - Daily News, 2007
life of South African acoustic guitarist Tony Cox. If one listens closely to Cox's extraordinary guitar playing, all that dust and bush and wide African landscape is very much apparent in the music he creates. It is like his musical umbilical cord still reaching back, still informing the present and giving his music an edge quite like no other guitar player. His music is totally refreshing and indeed surprising in its complete lack of cliché and in its innate ability to emotionally move people, taking them on an aural journey at once visceral, new and entirely unforgettable.
His is a repertoire all his own, so different to the usual solo guitar players' set bag of tricks and tunes. This is what one feels when attending a Cox concert; he is not trying to impress you with great technical playing or with a string of golden-oldie covers, he's there to give you what he is made of and what made him, through the medium of an acoustic guitar and the warmth of his natural sense of humour. It is with this ease of delivery and his breathtaking power and mastery of a simple wooden box with six strings that he never fails to bring an audience to their feet, be it in Europe or North America, clamouring for more.
Forty-five years later, having negotiated the quagmire of apartheid South Africa and yet still managing to carve out a name for himself in an industry notoriously myopic where it came to its own home-grown talent, Cox has become a national icon of the instrument in Southern Africa and is steadily growing appreciative audiences across the planet. He has won a weighty clutch of South African music awards for creating instrumental masterpieces in the recording studio and has been nominated no less than seven times. He now resides back in Cape Town and when not teaching, travels the country and the world as a solo performer.