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MANUS McGUIRE - Fiddlewings

MANUS McGUIRE - Fiddlewings

Sligo fiddler Manus McGuire has recorded several albums with his unique combination of Irish tradition and classical technique, reminiscent of the late Sean McGuire. On 'Fiddlewings Manus has adopted the music of Scotland and Cape Breton, two strands of the same tradition, and of course brought his own Irish influences to bear. Weel kent tunes such as 'Lad wi' the Plaidie' and 'O'er the Moor Amang the Heather' are joined by modern compositions such as Dave Richardson's reel 'MacArthur Road' and Spencie's Trip to Edinburgh' by young Shetland fiddler Steven Spence. Shetland is also represented by several Willie Hunter tunes, including a splendid set of jigs centred on Da Sooth End. There's a lovely Nathaniel Gow air in Miss Graham of Inchbrakie, and a spirited rendition of The Sweetness of Mary which is one of my favourite Cape Breton tunes

Manus melds this Scottish material perfectly with tunes from the Irish repertoire, and with several of his own compositions. Martin Wynne's, The Belles of Tipperary and The Sailor's Bonnet are all well-known reels worth hearing again. The Girls of Banbridge, Paddy Mills' Fancy and Have a Drink with Me are more obscure but equally fine old tunes. Fiddlewings also includes several slower tracks: among them the excellent hornpipes City of Savannah and The Good Natured Man, and a few new waltzes from North America and elsewhere. Manus' own swingy Shelly River Waltz opens the album, and is followed by his charming reel 'Bodyke to Baddeck'.

Manus McGuire's style is precise, controlled, and impressive without being flashy. Fiddlewings is both an enjoyable CD and a fascinating mosaic of the big fiddle traditions from across the Celtic world. The production is first class, as are the accompanists. It all fits together beautifully.

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 69 of The Living Tradition magazine.