As you drive about 13 miles north of Durban, the largest city in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, you pass a lush fertile belt where the rich green shades of the sugar cane meet the turquoise of the Indian Ocean. This is where on the 26th November 1983, guitarist and composer Guy Buttery was born and raised in a small coastal town along the North Coast. This is a place of enchantment, freedom, promise and where the creative spirit takes charge.
Besides being introduced to music at an early age through his mother who plays the piano and his older brothers who played guitar, the muse naturally took hold of Guy when he was ten. It wasn’t out of peer pressure, but out of the necessity to liberate the creative whirlwind which was ever prevalent during those early years. Just think about it. As rich as the soil for his feet to stand on, you had local Zulu tribesmen, playing their brand of music known as Maskanda on finger-picked oil drum guitars. They are South Africa’s blues men, or wandering storytellers, which hollered their song into a young Buttery’s heart. Across the valley, the sounds of tabla and sitar could be heard from one of the many Indian Hindu temples bringing a diversity of colour, spirit and enlightenment into such an enquiring mind.
Back in the Buttery household, the sounds of The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Dylan and Bob Marley made their way into the teenager’s songbook. Practicing hours every day on his older brothers ‘hand me down’ Sae Han guitar, these icons opened doorways and liberated Guy’s spirit. During these formative years, he got an understanding of rock and folk harmonies, almost serving an apprenticeship for greater things to come. When the guitar was put down, the inspiration was continually diverted and fed through the physical. Exploring the lush cane fields and living in the coastal forests, building secret tree houses and surfing the warm Indian Ocean currents only added to the deep well of inspiration. Many a profound event happened during these times.