James Grace to Launch New Album CHILLED at Alexander Upstairs

James Grace to Launch New Album CHILLED at Alexander Upstairs
James Grace

Acclaimed guitarist and double SAMA nominee James Grace makes a welcome return to the Alexander Bar for the launch of CHILLED, his sixth solo guitar studio album. CHILLED also celebrates ten years of Grace's independently owned and operated record label, Stringwise Records. His previous releases include SEVILLA - MUSIC OF SPAIN II and CAFE LATINO, both of which topped the Classic FM Top 20 South African Charts and earned him SAMA nominations for Best Popular Classical Album and Best Instrumental Album respectively.

Breaking with tradition from his previous five solo albums, which consist largely of music for classical guitar, CHILLED features Grace's own unique arrangements of songs by artists including The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Jesse Harris, Carol King and Billy Joel. CHILLED also introduces a South American element with a medley of original compositions and arrangements by Brazilian guitar maestro Marco Pereira. The title appropriately describes the mood and feel of the album, which draws substantially on material from Grace's previous shows GUITAR HERO and GUITAR HERO II.

CHILLED continues to celebrate the diversity of the modern day guitar. The album demonstrates the fingerboard prowess which has led Grace to win a KANNA Award for Best Male Artist at the 2010 ABSA KKNK and more recently, a KykNET Fiësta. Also one of South Africa's leading concert artists, he has appeared in recent years with the Cape Philharmonic, the Kwa-Zulu Natal Philharmonic, the Johannesburg Festival, the Johannesburg Philharmonic, the Gauteng Philharmonic and the Free State Symphony in concerts featuring the music of Rodrigo, Villa-Lobos, Tirao, Stephenson, Giuliani and Vivaldi. Grace was the soloist in Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez" with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra and Pieter Daniel at Kirstenbosch's Summer Concert Series, and subsequently joined forces with Jonathan Crossley to give the South African premiere of Rodrigo's "Concierto Madrigal" for two guitars with the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Alessandro Crudele.

A regular performer at the major arts festivals and concert series, Grace's schedule frequently takes him throughout Southern Africa, Europe and the United Arab Emirates. Born in England, he began playing guitar at the age of seven. He immigrated with his family to South Africa at the age of ten and continued lessons with the late Dietrich Wagner. Grace then studied at the Royal College of Music in London as a Foundation Scholar with Carlos Bonell. Upon graduating, he became the first guitarist in the history of the college to receive the Tagore Gold Medal, an annual award presented to the most outstanding student. After spending two years teaching guitar at an international music centre in Doha, Qatar, he returned to South Africa and was appointed Head of Classical Guitar Studies at the University of Cape Town's College of Music.

As an entrepreneur and concert organiser, Grace often hosts and performs with visiting artists. In 2015, he toured South Africa in a series of duo concerts with United Kingdom-based Mexican guitarist Morgan Szymanksi. James also appeared in concert with Cinzia Milani from Italy, Goran Krivokapic from Germany and Chloe Murphy from London. Locally, he works with a number of artists in a variety of projects. These include KwaZulu-Natal-based pianist Christopher Duigan, Johannesburg guitarist Jonathan Crossley and Capetonian flautist Bridget Rennie-Salonen. He is in the final stages of setting up the Stringwise Young Artist's Trust, with the aim of assisting young artists from across the country produce their own albums and offer bursaries for overseas study.

Join James Grace as he launches CHILLED at the Alexander Upstairs Theatre from 10 - 12 August at 19:00 nightly. Reservations are through the Alexander Bar website, with tickets costing R100 if booked and prepaid online or R110 if paid on collection at the bar. CDs will be available for purchase at the performances. The Alexander Bar, Café and Theatre is situated at 76 Strand Street in the Cape Town city centre and can be followed on Facebook and Twitter. For telephone enquiries, call 021 300 1652. For further information about James Grace visit his official website.

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