Tony McManus, the man John Renbourn called the “best Celtic guitarist in the world,” returns to the Kalamazoo, this time with the multi-talented singer and instrumentalist Julia Toaspern. It is a spell-binding combination.
Tony is known world-wide as a brilliant solo performer – described as “beyond beautiful — PERFECT” by Tommy Emmanuel –and was named by Guitar Player magazine as one of the 50 “transcendent” guitarists of all time. Collaborations have always been a major part of his work.
And what a partnership this is!
Julia, from Berlin, combines her vocal and violin classical training with a passion for jazz, baroque and traditional music. On top of this, her skills on guitar dovetail beautifully with Tony’s expertise. Together they perform interwoven guitar duets, from Italians madrigals to Scottish reels, classical pieces and self-penned songs of love, loss, hope and survival.
The Kalamazoo and Class Acts — you can’t have one without the other, as an old song goes.
Here, making his second appearance for us, is a young man rapidly climbing to the peak of his profession as a singer and songwriter. Ewan, born in London andt raised in Scotland, has been on the scene for only ten years but is already laden with awards and acclaim.
His first album, Rags and Robes, won the Horizon prize at the BBC Folk Awards. His second, The Last Bird to Sing, earned him the Alistair Hulett award for political songwriting. His “arrival” was confirmed by an appearance on the BBC’s Transatlantic Sessions with masters of a acoustic music Jerry Douglas, Tim O’Brien, John Doyle et al.
McLennan’s work is rooted in the tradition of folk music as social commentary and the issue of loneliness led him to a “music and spoken word” album and concerts collaboration with renowned journalist George Monbiot.
Spiral Earth, the roots music website sums up our artist thus…”An outstanding guitarist, a magnificent interpreter of tradition song and an immensely gifted songwriter.”
Last words to the great Martin Simpson, who described Ewan’s third album Stories Still Untold as “beautifully conceived and executed.”