“Anji” (or “Angi”, “Angie” or “On gee”) is an acoustic fingerstyle guitar piece composed and recorded by noted folk guitarist Davy Graham in 1961 and originally released as part of his EP debut.
The piece is one of the most well-known acoustic blues-folk guitar pieces ever composed, with many notable artists covering it, such as Bert Jansch (included on his first, eponymous album in 1965, renamed as “Angie”, John Renbourn, Lillebjørn Nilsen, Paul Simon (on the Simon & Garfunkel album Sounds of Silence), and Harry Sacksioni (on his Optima Forma – Live album).
The song is in the key of A minor (often used with a capo at the second fret) and is notable for its trademark descending bassline. However, the original recording by Davy Graham is in the key of C minor with a capo at the third fret.
In 1965, a dejected Paul Simon went for an extended stay in England. When he returned home to New York toward the end of the year, he brought Anji with him.
Well, “Anji.” A piece of music, not a woman.
“Anji” — sometimes spelled “Angi” or “Angie” — was written and first recorded in the late 1950s by English guitarist Davy Graham, considered by many the first star of the U.K. folk guitar renaissance. It’s a snappy little fingerpicked number, a series of trills over a descending bass line. Really more jazzy than folkie. By the time Simon first heard it, apparently via the playing of another young star of the scene, Bert Jansch, it had become the touchstone for English acoustic guitarists. This was the piece they had to master to gain entry into that world and in the process serving to popularize the dark modal DADGAD open tuning as the scene standard.
Davy Graham is one of the most influential figures in the 1960s British folk revival. His finger picking inspired Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Martin Carthy, John Martyn, and Jimmy Page.
Graham is probably best known for his acoustic instrumental composition, “Anji.” Bert Jansch recorded this song on his first self titled album in 1965. John Renbourn also recorded it, as did Paul Simon, on the Simon & Garfunkel album Sounds of Silence.