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Cedras, Tony (1952-29th January 2024)

He was a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, mainly known for playing the accordion, born in Elsie’s River, Cape Province in South Africa as the youngest of eight children. He began his life in music as a singer and accordion player in his local church youth choir and then he began playing the trumpet when he was at high school.

He performed in concert with many of the artists in his local area and in the early 1980s he moved to Gaberone in Botswana. Here he became a member of the musical Amandla and internationally toured with them and when he got to London he stayed and became acquainted with other musicians that were South African ex-pats. He formed the group Kintone in 1985 and built up a good fan base in England, recording two albums.

In 1986 he went back to South Africa, subsequently touring Africa with the Buwa project and while in Zimbabwe he was invited to join Paul Simon’s tour band. He stayed with the touring band from 1987 to 1992 covering both the Graceland tour and the Born at the Right Time tour and then in 1993 appeared with Simon & Garfunkel in Concert of a Lifetime. 1993 also saw him touring with Harry Belafonte and releasing his own solo album.

He went on to settle in Brooklyn, New York, as a much sought after session musician. Through the course of his international career he performed with artists such as Joan Baez , Tony Bird, Chris Botti, Miriam Makeba, Ziggy Marley, Hugh Masakela, Pharaoh Sanders and many more.

A very few of the albums he appeared on during the course of his career include his own Visions Over People as well as Far Side of the World by Jimmy Buffett , Two Worlds One Heart by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Concert in the Park by Paul Simon and the compilations Blue Note Salutes Motown and Divine Divas: A World of Women’s Voices.

He died in January 2024 when he was 71 years old.