Review Archive

‘Live in KwaZulu’ from South African finger-style guitarist Guy Buttery

(October 03, 2013)


Guy ButteryI’ve spent the last few days listening to a new album. A live recording of scintillating guitarplaying - possibly the most amazing acoustic guitar I’ve heard in years. This album is a perfect example of a maestro at work. The dedication and effort that brings about this level of expertise can only be imagined. The album in question is Live in KwaZulu’ fromSouth African finger-style guitarist Guy Butteryrecorded over two nights at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

In Guy’s own words: “In a live environment there's no way to get it ‘just right’. When you make music in front of an audience, there's an energy, certain dynamics, a feel, a collective experience. This isn't the studio. It’s real.” Not only is this music real, it’s entrancing, captivating and so fluidly fashioned that it makes you wonder at Guy’s ability to take the guitar into places that others can only dream about. Once is not enough to absorb the journey, you need to listen again and again to identify the multitude of subtle nuances he puts into each piece.

From the opening track ‘December Poems’ you realise that you’re in the presence of something incredibly special. No effects, no overdubs, no going back to correct that one bad note. This pure musicianship. Unadulterated perfection. One man so part of his instrument the join is imperceptible. The transition into ‘Foot-Tapper VI’ is seamless – then each track unleashes is own magic – from the jazz-edged insomnia of ‘Sleep Deprivation’ and the multi-layered magic of ‘Half A Decade’ to the languorous relaxation of ‘Sibanisezwe’ there is a mystical, almost supernatural quality to the sounds that Guy can urge from six strings. 

This album is well worth a long, undisturbed listen.

You can find Guy and his work here:

And his iTunes page is here:

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

Click here to return to the Review Archive page