BY BILLY SUTER
DURBAN guitarist Guy Buttery is over the moon about having made a bit of history on being named as a Standard Bank Young Artist award-winner for 2018 – for music.
Now in its 36th year, the Standard Bank Young Artist (SBYA) awards are conferred by the National Arts Festival and Standard Bank on deserving young South African artists – and Buttery, who turns 34 on November 26, is the first non-classical musician to win in the music category.
“Woohoo! I am all kinds of overjoyed and am obviously deeply humbled by this,” the long-haired musician wrote in a Facebook post, adding that he understands this is the first time in the awards history that it has been presented to a non-classical musician.
“It speaks volumes for both the SBYA committee and the award itself, for branching out and recognising other musical genres. For this reason, and the fact it is considered the highest accolade for the arts in the country, this honour has always existed far outside the realms of possibility for me.
“The award is obviously loaded with a bunch of expectations for the year ahead, with many a commitment already in place, but I am undeniably not afraid and looking forward to diving in to every single aspect of it,” explains Buttery.
“More than anything, this honour is a meaningful reminder and affirmation that my guitar and I must be doing something right. As an artist driving around this wonky and murky quagmire of an industry (for some time now), this is not always so easy to see.
“Thanks for clearing up the mud off the windscreen there. I’m pretty frikken keen to see what the road ahead has in store.”
The award-winners in the various artistic genres are selected by the National Arts Festival Committee, chaired by Brett Bailey. All decisions regarding winners are made jointly by the committee.
The winners receive a cash incentive, and are given support to develop and premiere new works that will be featured on the Main Programme of the 2018 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown next year.
The other winners are Chuma Sopotela (Performance Art), Igshaan Adams (Visual Art), Jemma Kahn (Theatre), Musa Hlatshwayo (Dance) and Thandi Ntuli (Jazz).
The National Arts Festival website says Buttery is an immensely talented composer and guitarist.
“He plays like a man on a search to stretch the boundaries of fingerstyle guitar to their outermost limits and he is winning. Buttery has found a way to play his unique style of guitar that is deeply South African while also speaking a global musical language. There’s credibility to his being described by pundits as a South African musical treasure.”