Tony McManus is the leading Celtic guitarist worldwide and has been listed as one of the 50 transcendental guitarists of all time by Guitar Player Magazine. While Tony is known as a soloist, his frequent collaborations with diverse musicians have always been a significant part of his work. Tony joined the Greentrax label in 1995 and Live In Concert will be the seventh Tony McManus album to be released by Greentrax Recordings. This has been a long, happy and lasting relationship.
Julia Toaspern is a multi-talented musician from Berlin who combines classical training on violin and voice with a wide interest in genres such as jazz, baroque and traditional music. She has released two albums of original songs and performed in both classical and singer-songwriter modes on both sides of the Atlantic. On top of all this her skills as a guitarist are prodigious and make an exciting fit with Tony’s work. On this Live album she sings, plays guitar and violin. Greentrax extend a warm welcome to Julia.
Tony and Julia’s guitar treatment of traditional music is unique, and each supports the other in exploring the harmonic possibilities of these old and not-so-old tunes. Each of the pair both flatpick and fingerpick at the highest level but always at the service of the tune rather than a display of technique. Julia’s violin can effortlessly morph into a fiddle as she weaves from Italian madrigal to Scottish reel. Her songs go to the heart of love and loss, hope and survival and are inflected with a musical input from a wide and eclectic experience of musical life.
Tony and Julia’s arrangements are rooted in deep musicality and heartfelt expression. Having met over a conversation in Berlin about J S Bach, together they play and sing music that speaks to them and hopefully through them to a wider audience.
The album was recorded live during a German tour by the duo in the early part of 2019. The recordings were made by Rainer Ahrens of Felicitas Records, Berlin, who also mixed and mastered - and produced a final master which can only be described as brilliant in sound quality. The musicianship and the final master make this a rather special live album.