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Cross Bones Blues Tour will visit Wattville

Gifted by the grandchildren of slaves, MacLean now sings his own stories and tells his own songs

Doc MacLean’s second African tour, Cross Bones Blues, finds him returning to many of the places he visited on his previous Zulu Skies adventure.

Cross Bones includes nearly 50 shows. From the gala tour launch at the Canadian High Commission to the massive OppiKoppi Festival, to theatres, cafes and wild little juke joints, this tour touches most parts of South Africa.

A number of Cross Bones shows will feature collaborations with South African blues and roots artists. MacLean, who was “thrilled” by the musicians he met last year, is working to create opportunities for these artists to tour North America.

South Africa and Canada have much in common, and he believes a broader exchange of artists would serve both well. In addition to fostering cultural, diplomatic and economic contacts, Doc continues to mentor a number of younger artists, and will present guitar workshops as his tour schedule permits.

MacLean will be in our hood on November 8 when he performs at Jazzies Inn in Wattville Township in Benoni.

Forty-five years ago Doc was playing Charlie Patton songs in Son House’s living room. From back porch to big porch. The storyteller. An emotional remapping of contemporary delta blues.

He’s a blues vagabond, writing from the dark side of the highway. A songster from the delta tradition, Doc explored and resided in the American rural south at a time when it was much less visited than it is today, and had mentors like Son House, Peg Leg Sam and Sam Chatmon.

Gifted by the grandchildren of slaves, MacLean now sings his own stories and tells his own songs in his own voice. His mostly resophonic, finger style slide guitar pays sonic homage to Patton, House and Big Joe Williams, in a roots based, yet contemporary context.

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