Tony McManus

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“a masterpiece” John Renbourn
“beyond beautiful… it’s PERFECT!” Tommy Emmanuel

To find a unique voice on so ubiquitous an instrument as the acoustic guitar is quite an achievement: to do so within a centuries old idiom where the instrument has no real history is truly remarkable.

Tony McManus has come to be recognised throughout the world as the leading guitarist in Celtic Music. From early childhood his twin obsessions of traditional music and acoustic guitar have worked together to produce a startlingly original approach to this ancient art. In Tony’s hands the complex ornamentation normally associated with fiddles and pipes are accurately transferred to guitar in a way that preserves the integrity and emotional impact of the music.

Self taught from childhood, initially through listening to the family record collection, McManus abandoned academia in his twenties to pursue music full time. The session scene in Glasgow and Edinburgh provided the springboard for gigs around Scotland and a studio set for BBC Radio, frequently rebroadcast, began to spread the word.

Tony’s first self titled recording in 1996, followed by Pourquoi Quebec in 1999 led to worldwide recognition. However, it was with the release of Ceol More in 2002 that Tony’s stature as a first class musician reached a new level. Critics hailed the focussed, spell-binding nature of the music, from the plaintive Jewish hymn “Shalom Aleichem” to the ingenious arrangement of the Charles Mingus classic “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”. Having been nominated as Musician of the Year by both the BBC Folk Awards and The Scottish Traditonal Music awards, in 2002 “Ceol More” hit the Critic’s Album of the year list in Acoustic Guitar magazine and named “Live Ireland Awards” Album of the Year.

Tony’s work has come to represent Celtic music in the guitar world, making regular appearances at guitar specific events where just a few years ago jigs and reels would be unheard of. He is invited annually to the Chet Atkins Festival in Nashville, has appeared at Guitar Festivals in Soave and Pescantina, Sarzana and Francacorta Italy; Frankston, Australia; Issoudun and Bordeaux France; Kirkmichael, Scotland; Bath and Kent, England; Bochum and Osnabruck, Germany. In 2004 he appeared at the famous Ryman Auditorium in Nashville in the “All Star Guitar Night” featuring Steve Morse, Bryan Sutton, Muriel Anderson, Béla Fleck and Victor Wooten and headlined by the legendary Les Paul.

His ability to reach audiences unfamiliar with traditional music is remarkable- he is quite comfortable at predominantly classical events such as the Dundee and Derry Guitar Festivals (appearing six times between the two) the Uppsala Guitar Festival and even The Bogotá International Guitar Festival where he followed virtuoso Eduardo Fernandez.

Today his live work ranges from intimate solo performance through his trio with brothers Gary and Greg Grainger to the quartet Men of Steel (with fellow guitarists Dan Crary, Beppe Gambetta and Don Ross). He is an enthusiastic collaborator both as a leader and as a sideman having worked with, among many others Dougie McLean, Phil Cunningham, Mairi MacInnes, Liam O’Flynn, Martin Simpson, Kevin Burke, Alison Brown, Martyn Bennett, Natalie MacMaster, Patrick and Jacky Molard, Mairead ní Mhoanaigh and Dermot Byrne, The Nashville Chamber Orchestra, John Jorgenson, Jean Michel Veillon, Catriona Macdonald, Seikou Keita, Xosé Manuel Budiño, Ewen Vernal and Andy Irvine.
He is also in great demand as a studio musician having contributed to over 60 albums. In addition to his solo output Tony has worked with both singers and instrumentalists providing his distinctive sound on many successful projects.

His 2009 release “The Makers’s Mark” saw him showcase 15 of the finest luthier built guitars available. Recording a solo piece on each instrument, the project caught the attention of the mainstream rock guitar press in a way that acoustic work rarely does.

The following year, a chance hearing on Irish radio led to an invite to contribute music to the soundtrack of Oscar winning director Neil Jordan’s film “Ondine” starring Colin Farrell.

Never one to be typecast, Tony’s new album “Mysterious Boundaries” is his most ambitious to date. An encouraging challenge from mandolin virtuoso Mike Marshall to learn the Bach E Major Prelude on guitar led to an exploration of classical and baroque music – seemingly very different to the jigs and reels that he grew up with. By examining the boundaries between genres and sticking to his steel string guitar (rather than the conventional classical guitar) McManus has produced a work of great originality and beauty, hailed by his peers as
“a masterpiece” (Renbourn), “beyond beautiful… it’s PERFECT!” (Tommy Emmanuel) and which contains a truly remarkable rendition of Bach’s colossal Chaconne in D Minor – one of the greatest compositions of any age.

Whatever work McManus brings within his scope the listener is assured a journey into the depths of the music in the company of a great talent.









My Fellow Sponges

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My Fellow Sponges come from Galway on the salty west-coast of Ireland. The band is the creative union of two singer-songwriters. Donal McConnon with his lyrically-led folk ditties and Anna Mullarkey with her lush and elegant synth-pop sound. The two started a band together after performing together as actors on a number of theatre shows in university. They were later joined by David Shaughnessy (drums) and Sam Wright (bass). 2013 saw the release of their debut album Bonne Nuit. Mostly focused on a more rural sound, the single from it which received the most attention was This Dream Song, mainly for the highly-ambitious, surrealist backwards video which accompanied its release. The follow up Something Like Light (2014), displays a much more reflective, piano-driven sound from a band ever-willing to explore new possibilities with sound. Last year’s single, The Cold Hand, has been the band’s most successful release to date, gaining nationwide radio-play and convincing music lovers to flock to their shows during the festival season.

My Fellow Sponges have collaborated with story-tellers, comedians, dancers and brass-ensembles. They have played entire shows improvised, under the moniker, Community. Their live concerts are lively, unpredictable and intimate. They comfortably switch from eerie-electronica to hip-shaking-bossa-nova all with a dramatic flair that stay with Donal and Anna from their theatre days.

















 

The Burning Hell

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CULTURE NIGHT PERFORMANCE
The Burning Hell is the alter-ego of Canadian songwriter Mathias Kom, and the band has been on the road in one form or another since 2007, playing everywhere from the chaos of Glastonbury to the loneliness of the Arctic Circle, popping up in bars, festival tents, living rooms, abandoned bunkers, and a mental asylum in rural France along the way. Musically, the lineup and sound of the Burning Hell has been ever-changing, running the gamut from introspective folk to hyperactive rock and roll. This means both that no two Burning Hell records sound alike, and that the band can adapt to its surroundings like a karma of anthropomorphic chameleons, taking the audience on a supermarket-cart ride through hooky, upbeat pop songs, dark ballads about pet euthanasia, and anthems for barbarians, economic conferences, and love.
In 2017, The Burning Hell is set to record and release their eighth full-length album, embarking on a tour that will take them from the Rocky Mountains to the Mountains of Mourne, across the Tyrrhenian and the Norwegian Seas, and many other places in between. Always restless, The Burning Hell looks forward to a year of new sounds, new songs, and new people to share them with.
















Ganglions

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Mathy pop punk with Cork accents and a serious case of the jerky jangles. For fans of noodley guitar parts, gang vocals and songs about vegetables. Together for just over a year, Ganglions have been making modest waves in the DIY scenes of their adopted cities of Sheffield and Leeds. Eimear O’Donovan (ex-KVX), Brian Scally (B Positives, ex-Spitvalve), and Chris Saywell (ex-cellent guitar player) self-released their debut EP FETCH! in August 2016, which has seen them tour the length of the UK. With a second release due in September 2017, the trio are set to bash you with their bible of bangers at CIGF17.
“Rapid-fire math-pop, intended to induce shit-eating grins and dancing feet for all who listen!” – Andy Hughes, Birthday Cake for Breakfast
“Your guitar playing reminds me of my ex-girlfriend’s Dad” – Random punter, Sheffield
“Now that is upbeat” – Father of two, The Forest of Dean

LOWmountain

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its been a long year for LOWmountain , slowly & meticulously gathering inspiration for their next album, & now its time for them to offer a peak at their findings…









JIM MURRAY

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Jim Murray is one of the best and most respected accompanists in traditional Irish music.

Hailing from County Cork, Jim has toured and recorded both nationally and internationally with the A to Z of Ireland’s top musicians.

Having a wealth of teaching experience and performing master classes around the world, Jim has now produced his own highly anticipated on-line guitar tutorial focusing on all aspects of accompanying traditional Irish music with a guitar.

VIDEOS

Jim Murray & Dezi Donnelly









RICHARD GILEWITZ

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For nearly four decades, American fingerstyle wizard Richard Gilewitz has fascinated listeners with 6 and 12-string finger gymnastics while spinning enchanting yarns of a seasoned raconteur. His concert performances around the world spill over with unexpected turns of the funnies, thought-provoking takes on life on the road, and tunes that propel the audience on a magical journey of sight and sound. His signature playing style delivers a technical diversity of banjo style patterns and classical arpeggios with a rhythmic percussive approach, exploring the history of guitar with sounds of folk to Americana, the blues to the classical, ragtime to pop, and somewhere in between.In addition to his concert performances, his GillaCamp Guitar and Ukulele Workshops, Meet the Artist Seminars, Clinics, and Avenues for Success educational program for schools inspire players worldwide, providing opportunities for music lovers to work on their craft and young players to learn fingerstyle techniques and tips of the trade.

Growing up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Huntsville, Alabama, Richard embraced such diverse artists as The Beatles, Andres Segovia, Kraftwerk, Leo Kottke, J.S. Bach, Arlo Guthrie, John Fahey and Flatt & Scruggs. Soaking up the wealth of inspiration supplied by the assorted acts featured at the Renfro Valley festivals, “The Dr. Demento Radio Show” and “The Midnight Special”, Richard welcomed the challenge of mastering and adapting many styles of music for the acoustic guitar — a trait that continually places him among a multitude of genres.

Richard began honing his skills both as a performer and composer during the late 1970’s at the University of Alabama, playing the local coffeehouse circuit while pursing degrees in Computer Science, Mathematics, and Music. Following graduation, Richard placed his musical calling in the background and joined the world of flight simulation design, telemetry and satellite systems.

The 1980’s brought Richard to Florida where he released his first LP recording, Somewhere In Between. As the pull of his passion for performing and recording became so compelling, Richard left corporate life to teach and perform full time in a career that has propelled him into an international music arena. He has gone on to release seven more recordings plus a number of educational materials.

Students around the globe attend Richard’s roving GillaCamp Guitar/Ukulele Workshops and Guitars, Gear, and a Bit of Ukulele Clinics. These interactive experiences provide players an avenue to renew their love of the instrument and hone their craft. Designed for all level of player, these events explore a wide variety of topics in a group and individual setting. Richard also has a number of international students that study with him through Skype and is guest instructor at a number of international guitar retreats including Winterbreak in Australia and Guitar Retreats in the UK. Meet the Artist Educational Outreach takes him into the learning environment at grade/middle/high schools, colleges, and universities as this 1-5 day residency program introduces students to the professional musician. Classes include lectures and instruction.He is on the faculty of Master the Possibilities of Ocala Florida, and is a Sherpa Classroom Instructor with TrueFire.

Today, recognized world-wide as a performer who has a quirky take on everything around him, Richard continues to live up to this depiction with rousing shows filled with offbeat observations combined with his right-hand wizardry and heaps of technique. With Richard’s performances teeming with sparkles of mood mastery and wonderment, he shares a fresh impression of sound to the listener during his concert appearances and at his workshops.

Says Spectrum Magazine, “Much of the charm of a Gilewitz performance is in the stories he tells. He wondered aloud to the audience how many ducks he could take out in a fight if he were to be attacked by a flock of the sneaky waterfowl.”

Whether playing solo, conducting guitar seminars and school programs, or sharing the stage with folks such as Stephen Housden of the Little River Band, Brooks Williams, Michael Fix, The California Guitar Trio, John McCutcheon, John Renbourn, Mose Allison, the late John Fahey, Leo Kottke, Norman Blake, Indigo Girls, or John Hammond, Richard always invites the audience to join his journey filled with twitters, twists, and turns at every tune.

“Ear-boggling” The Washington Post

“His complex, energetic originals have made Gilewitz popular on the festival and club circuits as a solo performer.” Guitar Player Magazine

”His performance style is very crisp and precise, allowing the personality of the music to shine through.” Dirty Linen Magazine

“His quick wit and twisted sense of humor has made him an entertainer as well as a fine guitarist.” Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine

Acoustic Forum

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The Acoustic Forum is an eclectic event unlike anything else you’ve ever seen which sees five of our artists play in an intimate and informal concert in the round, with each artist staying onstage for the duration.  Guided by the guest host, each performer gives an insight into their craft and performs a short selection to whet the appetite for the weekend ahead.  It’s off the cuff, it’s friendly and it provides the listener with a varied and spontaneous night that never fails to surprise!

In a fresh twist to this year’s Forum guest host will be Internationally renowned luthier & all round amazing guy George Lowden, with guests Celtic guitar druid Tony McManus,  Dutch Ragtime virtuoso Leo Wijnkamp Jnr. Jazz pop siren Eve Clague & one more special guest yet to be announced!