Tony Cox

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Born in Zimbabwe, multiple award-winning South African acoustic guitarist Tony Cox

has become a veritable icon of the instrument in his own country and has been

described as one of South Africa’s finest musical exports. For a number of years now

he has undertaken regular forays into Europe and North America and has seen a

loyal fan-base begin to develop in the UK, Germany and Canada.

When he was just nine years old Tony began, incredibly, learning and playing the

Hawaiian guitar in what was then Rhodesia. This was brought about by one Archie

Pereira arriving from Lisbon and for reasons unknown decided to settle in the

backwater of Kwe-Kwe, a town 20 miles away from Tony’s mining-town birthplace,


In his teens and after Archie disappeared back to Lisbon, Tony changed to a

conventional guitar style and later, in order to ‘get the technique’, he studied the

classical guitar for an intensive 2-year period. In 1969 the family left Rhodesia to

settle in Cape Town South Africa 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 and closer to home, Sipho Mchunu

and Noise Khanyile both great exponents of Zulu Maskandi guitar style, Tony honed

and developed a style all his own. With the rigorous precision of classical technique

juxtaposing the loose, laid-backed delivery of a master at work, Tony’s music

tumbles out at you, hitting your tapping feet with its solid groove and taking your

heart and mind on harmonic journeys that stretch away to African horizons.

Tony Cox on-stage is as warm and engaging with his audience as he is off-stage.

Telling stories and anecdotes and using much wry humour, he draws a person in and

you find yourself listening really closely to a tune you may never have heard before

and then being punched in the solar-plexus at the power and delivery of that tune.

Besides being a solo performer Tony has collaborated and recorded with many other

musicians to produce three award-winning albums and a string of nominations.

‘China’ (UK/SA slang for friend) is just such an album. He recorded it in 2002

featuring many of the cream of SA musicians and is a fine example of Tony’s ability

to work beyond the confines of solo guitar playing. The album won the ‘best

instrumental’ category at the 2003 SAMA awards. He went on to win the same award

another two times for his albums, Matabele Ants in 2003, and Blue Anthem in 2008.

His latest album Padkos, Cox's homage to great SA composers, was nominated

for the 2015 SAMA awards.

Tony is also known for being a superb teacher of the instrument and runs his own

school of the acoustic guitar. When not teaching he travels the world performing.

'One of the first important non-traditional, 
South African guitarists’ - Mickdotcom, 
Muse 2013

'After his explosive set, the audience 
reciprocated Cox’s performance with a 
bellowing applause that filled the entire 
bakery' - Alex Nagel, - Dec 2013

‘Put a party together and go have your 
mind blown to bits (and reconstructed) by
a musician who is  a living legend’ 
Daily News, SA – 2007