GROUND-BREAKING indie-acoustic musician Eland Gray (aka Gary Thomas) is just over halfway through his run of eight concerts at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and has three shows left, for anyone who wants to catch his virtuoso playing.
Originating from Cape Town, South Africa, Gray was classically trained in school and later studied jazz at university. His unique style blends rich, moody song writing with a vast array of alternative guitar techniques and precision multi- tasking.
His diverse musical background shows in his combination of fingerstyle picking, rapid virtuoso strumming and percussive playing. Singing with two microphones with varying reverb effects, he uses his voice in the orthodox manner as well as textually layering extra tones over the music. Add all of this to his wooden stomp box and violin bow playing and you have something that sounds a lot like Eland Gray.
In conjunction with the countless South African shows and festivals, the last couple of years have included sell-out runs at the National Arts Festival, touring with Ninja Tunes artist Fink in South Africa, full endorsements from Ernie Ball and Proel and a European Tour in 2012.
After officially relocated to Spain in April 2015, Gray’s fifth album Minortide and the Banished Sea was released on July 24 2015. The 10 track album was recorded between Cape Town, South Africa and Granada, Spain between November 2014 – May 2015. Following its release, he embarked on a full tour of Spain between September and November 2015, performing in ten cities including the MUV festival in Valencia.
Gray recently completed a 20 show European tour through The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Denmark and England between May and July last year.
In October last year he relocated back to Cape Town and is working on plans for South African and international tours.
Among his reviews Rolling Stone described his music as “a virtuoso display of left-field indie-folk mastery”, while Mail & Guardian said: “Spellbinding, epic soundscapes of surrealistic intensity… rupturing the mould of the conventional singer-songwriter”.
Gray’s remaining shows at Festival are on Thursday July 6 at 11am, Friday July 7 at 5pm and Saturday July 8 at 3pm.
All shows are at the Graham Hotel on High Street.