According to his Facebook page, Tombstone Pete (Pete Faure) began his stage career as a singing bunny rabbit in a Grade 1 school play. After studying live performance at university, this South African musician busked his way across the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, returning to South Africa in recent years to pursue a stage career. He can currently be found performing live in bars and restaurants in and around Cape Town, South Africa.
“The Stone”, as he is lovingly called by his fans, employs a style of percussive acoustic guitar called lap tapping. This is when the guitarist balances the guitar across his knees, strumming, slapping and plucking the strings to create a variety of melodic sounds while tapping, scratching and thumping the body of the guitar to create percussive sounds. Tombstone Pete throws himself into his music and is a pleasure to watch. Keep an eye on his facial expressions as he plays “Higgins ‘n Haggis” – this guys loves what he’s doing.
Acoustic percussive guitar has existed in South Africa since the guitar was first introduced to the area. The majority of guitar players in South Africa are not classically trained and are therefore more open to experimentation, training themselves to be one man busking bands with nothing but a guitar and the skill of their hands. The combination of percussion and melody mimics many of the African languages that employ tongue clicking, making this style of guitar playing an excellent form of expression for African musicians. Take a look at Tombstone Pete’s Youtube channel for more videos of this Cape Town guitarist in action, or follow him on Twitter to find out when his next live gig is.
If you like percussive acoustic guitar (aka guitar tapping), check out these videos: Jon Gomm’s Acoustic Percussive Guitar – Passionflower and “Somebody that I used to Know” cover by WOTE.