Nominated ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’– Scots Trad Awards 2016
Virtuoso guitarist – Celtic music and beyond
To find a 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. Scots born and now Canada based, 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.
Through Tony’s hands the emotions of celtic music are transferred to the guitar and the listener is drawn into the driving energy of a reel or the timeless atmosphere of a lament – each finding an authentic voice through his interpretation. That emotional connection lifts McManus’s playing beyond mere virtuosity to a place where new listeners worldwide – from the Hebrides to Connemara and from Bogota to Tokyo – are won over to this music. In addition to his solo albums, there have also been groundbreaking recordings with musicians as diverse as Scots fiddler Alasdair Fraser, bluegrass legend Dan Crary and French bassist Alain Genty, to name but a few.
Whatever the context, Tony’s presence is unique and driven by a passion for the music. His engaging personality on stage has taken him to five continents, and his contribution was recently recognised with a Gold Medal, voted by the readers of Acoustic Guitar Magazine – fellow recipients were John Williams, Paco de Lucia and Tommy Emmanuel. Tony’s 2009 recording, The Makers Mark, won universal acclaim even in the rock guitar press, where jigs and reels would have been unheard of prior to its release.
Tony’s most recent album, Mysterious Boundaries, took a different path altogether, exploring the music of Bach, Couperin, Monteverdi, Satie and Granados. When listening to Tony, whatever the source, you will always be engaged by a creative integrity and by one of the most original musicians to emerge in recent years.
“If you run a festival and you have a Celtic music or guitar component, well, you simply must book Tony McManus. If you haven’t had Tony McManus, you just aren’t doing your job! In addition to being the leading guitarist in Celtic music, Tony is also a thorough professional and a great guy to have at a festival. He gets it.” Terry Wickham; Producer: Edmonton Folk Music Festival 1989-Present
“Tony McManus is the best Celtic guitarist in the world” John Renbourn
“Tony McManus is the Jeff Beck of the acoustic guitar” Paul Reed Smith, PRS Guitars
“McManus’s playing is rave-worthy. Loaded with flawless ornamentations, most of which should only be attempted on a very well set-up fiddle, his playing is wild and delicate, passionate and tender” Premier Guitar