Folk legends Magna Carta on stage

Lynne Gadd–Claxton

BRITISH folk legends Magna Carta return to the Eastern Cape this week for performances in East London, Stutterheim, Grahamstown, Port Elizabeth and Jeffreys Bay.

The group, best known for the albums Lord of the Ages and Seasons, is one of the longest running acoustic acts. It was founded by Chris Simpson in April 1969.

In 2009 the group decided to disband but Simpson has continued touring.

The soul of Magna Carta, Simpson has teamed up with multi-instrumentalist Laurens Joensen to do a whirlwind tour of South African venues.

Simpson’s songs span 42 years and 28 albums, and he has toured 84 countries.

Simpson recently toured Luxembourg with Jethro Tull, Ian Anderson and Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple and Rainbow fame.

In previous tours to South African shores, with various past members joining Simpson, their concerts have sold out, including last year in Port Elizabeth.

Through the years “the journey claimed its casualties, but that special something that is Magna Carta carried on regardless”, Simpson said.

This year’s tour promises to be no different, with the timeless sounds of Magna Carta, which has sold more than eight million albums, as melodious as ever

The Dutch/Scandinavian Joensen joins Simpson, playing slide guitar, blues and country guitar, classical guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle and piano and doing vocals.

A songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist, Joensen regularly travels to the US in search of fingerpicking blues inspiration.

Joensen said he felt closer to home after arriving in Stellenbosch.

“It is really great to discover that I can speak Dutch with the people here which is very related to my native Zeeland [a province in the Netherlands],” Joensen wrote on the group’s travelogue.

After playing a Cape Town gig, Joensen posted about the duo’s magical union: “Chris and I are really cooking. Our guitars like each other too …They just blend beautifully. The set we put together is really perfect for two voices and two guitars. Lots of folk, bluegrass and ballads. The people are loving it.”

The Magna Carta duo will be at Potters Place at 18 Oosterland Street in Jeffreys Bay on Thursday, October 18 and in Port Elizabeth on Friday, October 19 at the Music Kitchen at 69 Mangold Street in Newton Park.

They will be at Eagles Ridge Country House in Stutterheim next Saturday, October 20. The group then moves on to Wyvern Club at Kingswood College, Burton Street, in Grahamstown on Friday, October 26.

East London will host two shows on Sunday, October 21 at the Murambi Country Kitchen and a final show at the Old Selbornian Club on October 27.

For further information on shows and ticket bookings visit their website

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