Tony Bird in Concert

What: Cornell Folk Song Club Concert
When: Saturday, October 22, 2005
Where: 165 McGraw Hall
Cornell University
How Much: $15 advance / $17 door / usual discounts

Tony Bird

Tony Bird has been called a genuine oddity, a truly original performer and song writer. No one else sounds like him. He is a white African protest singer and internationally acclaimed poet now living in the United States. The Village Voice has dubbed him, "the finest, most impressive folk poet in years."

His music and spirit are deeply rooted in southern Africa, the beauty of the Rift Valley and the suffering of his continent. Tony Bird's voice is haunting, powerful, eccentric, radiant, percussive. He playfully suggests that, "it probably comes from trying to sound like John Lee Hooker and Hank Williams and failing at both." From a quirky high tenor to a throaty growl, Tony Bird may break into falsetto or howling, bird calls or bushman clicks, to serve the song. He weaves stories rich in symbolism and gritty detail. His lyrics are complex and intimate, clever, often angry, but frequently joyous. They reflect his complex relationship with his native land, from sweet pleasures (Mango Time) to the magic of wild Africa (Tssik...Listen to the Stars) to profound despair (Sorry Africa) and hope (Run).

Born in Malawi, educated in Rhodesia and Britain, Tony Bird returned to Africa as a young adult trying to make a career in music. Unfortunately, he found that his brand of politics, especially in the fight against injustice and apartheid, made him unwelcome to governmental authorities. After some years of traveling around the world, he made a home in New York City. Not a simple singer of protest songs, Tony Bird calls his music, "African folk rock." It fuses African pop, Southern rhythm and blues, and ethereal world folk music.

Tony Bird is unforgettable. He has only performed in Ithaca twice in the past 20 years, but each concert has erupted in a standing ovation. After a long battle with a neuromuscular disease, Tony Bird is touring again, and the Cornell Folk Song Society is pleased to help him be heard once again.

Tickets are available at Ludgate Farm Market, Ithaca Guitar Works, Greenstar Co-op, Small World Music, Colophon Books, and, if any are left, at the door. You may also order tickets online and by mail: SASE to CFSC, PO Box 481, Ithaca, NY 14851.

(Margaret Shepard)

For information about the concert, contact

More info about Tony Bird
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Author:Ted Crane
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