Oka Vanga are Angela Meyer & William Cox, an award winning Folk & Roots duo. Whether singing, playing guitar, ukulele or mandolin, their relaxed banter and gift for story telling makes their live performances both interesting and memorable.
Originally from Cape Town in South Africa, Angie is the creative driving force in the partnership and has been described as having “considerable vocal and songwriting talents” by fRoots. Showing an early aptitude for music, she was picking out her own tunes on a miniature piano by the age of four and a keen guitarist by the age of six. A promising and talented musician, she was awarded LTCL and a music scholarship to complete a first class BMus Hons but it still took time for her to deal with her own personal demons which held her back from performing and recording. Well-travelled and free-wheeling, it was years before she finally found an anchor in husband and multi-instrumentalist William Cox after their chance meeting at an open mic night in London.
Hailing from the city, William was already an established musician and had started his own teaching music studio. Their musical synergy was instant, and as a highly skilled guitarists guitar duo their performances quickly caught the attention of the international guitar community. Performing at acoustic clubs and festivals Oka Vanga was born, and a short E.P of original guitar instrumentals became their calling card. In 2013 they were invited to represent the UK at the International Madame Guitar Festival in Italy alongside guitar luminaries such as Ralph Towner (USA) and Clive Carroll (UK), and shortly thereafter they released their debut album Pilgrim to critical acclaim. Described by Songlines as “beautifully pure”, it was awarded Best Instrumental Album by FATEA magazine.
A short EP Tales of Eyam followed in 2015 to great reviews and critical acclaim. Described as “ a beautiful E.P with great musicianship and really fine songs“ by Mike Harding, it showcased Angie's hidden singing voice for the first time. Described as “gem bright” by RnR, it also brought Will's considerable talents as a talented multi- instrumentalist to the fore. Despite only being an E.P it was nominated for “Best Album by a Duo” by FolkWords and captured the imagination of the Folk community.
Their much anticipated second album Dance of the Copper Trail has been hailed as their best work yet. Released in 2017 on Crazy Bird Records, it is described by Songlines as “profound, concise and meticulous” with Angela’s lyrics “ displaying a talent for conveying emotion and joy.” Songs of faith and superstition, love and loss, death and everlasting hope are all seamlessly woven together and showcase all the manner of musical influences. Described by fRoots as “distinctly classy” and an album of “serious accomplishment and musicality”, it has secured Angie and Will a place in the hearts and minds of many fans with what RnR describe as its “up-beat feel” and “Celtic-deep universality”.
Featuring both traditional and original material, the album includes BBC Folk Award nominee Patsy Reid on fiddle and rising star Oliver Copeland on Double Bass. A gifted multi-instrumentalist, Ollie is currently completing a music degree at Guildhall and performs as a part of an Oka Vanga Trio with Angie and Will.
words/images courtesy of okavanga.com
Oka Vanga will be performing in our Village Folk Clubrooms at Derby Guildhall, The Market Place, Derby on Saturday 7th October - start time 5:30pm till 7pm. Purchase of a festival ticket is required for this event. More info about this year's Derby Folk Festival and how to buy day/evening/weekend tickets, can be found here >>