Heerlen 25/10/08 by Jacob Bekker

Heerlen 25/10/08 by Jacob Bekker

Magna Carta … what an act ! If you are one of the true followers of the band, then the name Magna Carta, known in the seventies as the Simon & Garfunkel of the U.K., will need no introduction. Following two successful tours to South Africa in the seventies and two later tours in 2007 and 2008, they are set to give us one more tour in September and October of this year.

Magna Carta is one of the longest running acoustic acts in the world. Founded by North Yorkshireman Chris Simpson in 1969, they have toured 64 countries so far, sold 8,000,000 albums world-wide, and performed 29 tours for the British Council as far afield as the Rain Forests of South America, the Arctic highway in Norway, the Himalayas, Iraq and the deserts of the Oman. One of the most travelled outfits on the planet, they have an unbelievable array of stories and experiences. Real troubadours.

It was the albums ‘Seasons’ and the magnificent classic ‘Lord of the Ages’, (regarded by many in South Africa as up there with ‘Dark side of the Moon’ and ‘Sergeant Pepper’) and the evergreen single ‘Airport Song’ that put them on the world map. From London’s Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to the Montreux Festival and Lisbon Opera House and the Canterbury Festival in Ontario, Canada, to the ancient souk in Damascus, Syria, their timeless music has woven its magic across every kind of audience and nationality.

What exactly is it then that has kept them going down 30 albums and through clubs; concerts; radio and TV shows too numerous to mention? Just how did they survive so many of the rock ’n roll years, when so many didn’t or simply faded away? Maybe it is the music, mostly written by Simpson and a rich pot-pourri of all his influences from Elvis’ Sun sessions via Bob Dylan, J.J. Cale, Paul Simon and the Blues, together with a rich vein of melody and some English folk traditions. He also mixed in certain country influences, not least the ground breaking guitar style of the late Chet Atkins.

The vocal sound is as unique as is the guitar sound. Simpson plays either a Martin HD28 or Gibson J200. Tom plays a Martin D41. You might not believe that two acoustic guitars can rock? Well, listen to these two and you would be proved wrong. There is the aforementioned J.J. Cale in there, the wistfulness of a James Taylor and the gritty edge of early ‘folk-baroque’, and more than a touch of Blues.


16-Sep-09 Old Selbornian Club c/o Pierce Street and Old Transkei Rd, Stirling, East London
17-Sep-09 The Lounge@ The Square Pascoe Crescent, Port Alfred
18-Sep-09 Toni’s Place 69 Mangold Street,Newton Park
19-Sep-09 Swing Café Knysna
20-Sep-09 Potters Place 18 Oosterland Street, Jeffreys Bay
22-Sep-09 GEORGE ARTS THEATRE 125 York Street, George.
23-Sep-09 Dorp Street Theatre Dorp Street, Stellenbosch
24-Sep-09 Fogeys Railway House Restaurant Main Road Muizenberg
25-Sep-09 Villa Pascal 28 van der Westhuizen Street, Durbanville
26-Sep-09 Villa Pascal as above
28-Sep-09 BarleycornMusic Club Rygersdal Sports Club, Erin Rd, Rondebosch
29-Sep-09 New Space Theatre 44 Long Street Cape Town
30-Sep-09 Die Boer 6 Chenoweth Str, Durbanville
07-Oct-09 Krakatoa Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Centre, 1 Sibaya Drive, Umhlanga Rocks



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