Tony McManus
& Alain Genty,
Singing Sands
(Greentrax, 2005)

Here is music of the world given that "otherworld" feeling as Tony McManus proves once again his credentials as one of the finest sets of fingers on the acoustic guitar. Adding to the mix here is Alain Genty on fretless bass guitar, and the result is outstanding.

We are told that the title "Singing Sands" comes from Bruce Peninsula Park in Ontario. The music comes from Cape Breton, Scotland, Brittany and the Balkans. The playing comes from the heart and soul.

These artists are geniuses of the guitar but they do not confine themselves to guitar tunes. The opening set comprises of compositions by fiddlers. To show the love of the guitar, they follow on with "Desert Dance" from the pen of Isaac Guillory.

Maybe it's my Irish genes, but one of my favourites on the CD turned out to be "The Hungry Rock," written by Dervish flute player Liam Kelly. Listen to "The Last Dance" and be transported. You will not need to read that it is a Greek traditional tune danced by the bride as a single woman.

This is a beautiful album of a fantastic mixture of traditions and styles. All are unified in the brilliance of interpretation and performance.

There may not be any No. 1 hits or holiday dance tunes on offer, but if a lover of good music obtains the CD it will seldom leave the player.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 26 March 2005