just couldn’t resist

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That is interesting, and it it fun.
BUT what I really don’t like are threads with titles that don’t tell us what the thread is about.
I just couldn’t resist mentioning that.

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Sorry, I can’t stand this type of fiddle playing, too technical and show-offy, and so boring, like bad swing music. Give me Tommy Peoples anyday.

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Great! I wish he’d been my grandad.

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Thanks Nikita! Great stuff. A very wise musician once made the biblical analogy “there are many rooms in the house of Irish music.”

Anyone know the name of the guitarist?

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‘’ A Master in his work ‘’ -- But I do prefer the old Irish Style of
Irish traditional Fiddle Playing --

jim,,,

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Everyone likes their cup of tea made differently I guess. Seán McGuire made some lovely recordings with Sligo flute player Roger Sherlock which sound nothing like this, so sometimes people make their own tea differently too…

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By the way, thanks for the post. No better surprise than waking up yo good tunes!

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‘to’ good tunes

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“Seán McGuire made some lovely recordings with Sligo flute player Roger Sherlock which sound nothing like this, so sometimes people make their own tea differently too…” Dragut R.

Aye, Seán was an accomplished violinist no doubt about that, and he could play different styles. I just prefer the hardcore trad and not this style. I don’t consider Ed Reavey tunes to be traditional either even though they have been accepted into the reportoire played by traditional musicians.

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The exception to the ‘rule’ (and I use that term loosely) which normally is to remove all traces of classical influence.

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“The exception to the ‘rule’ (and I use that term loosely) which normally is to remove all traces of classical influence.”

If you wan’t to play like Bobby Casey or Padraig O‘Keefe, then classical influence is probably going to get in the way, and would need to be ’unlearned‘. But I think there’s a big difference between someone with classical training trying to adopt a ’traditional’ sound and someone like Sean McGuire, who had a vision of the kind of music he wanted to play and sought classical training in order to achieve his goal. I don’t care much for his style, but I believe he was playing exactly how he wanted to play, not attempting to play traditional music while struggling to fight back the classical influence.

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Great fiddling. I loved the clips.

I don’t see so many classical influences here. There is no vibrato; he uses steel strings, primes, and open strings; his bowing is firmly in the fiddle tradition (though very well controlled). His left hand position is flatter than you would find in a classical violinist, but has enough flexibility to allow efficient play and use of higher positions (played rapidly and in tune-- that’s quite an accomplishment!) Particularly in the first hornpipe he has the drops and raises which make the tune dance. He even has the tendency to play both the second hornpipe and the jigs way too fast that characterizes some session playing. His playing reminds me of the recordings I’ve heard of Scott Skinner (also recognized as one of the early influences on Tommy Peoples). He clearly has a solid command of the instrument.

I also thought that the guitarist (who was that?) did a very tasteful job of supporting his playing.

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Talking style, not technique. Classical training helps with technique, but does nothing for absorbing and creating a traditional style.

That’s what we always talk about on here, people coming from a classical background but with their fiddling still carrying a classical style, instead of absorbing and then producing a traditional style.

It’s all a matter of taste and opinion, so there is no right or wrong. There is convention and tradition, which is why he stands out so much.

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For example, Kevin Burke comes from a classical background yet refrains from technical pyrotechnics.

…but again, it’s a all matter of opinion as to whatchalike. So whateveryalike. 😉

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Ghastly. In my opinion.

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I’m afraid I share Mark’s opinion. There was something horribly, er, unmusical about it in places.

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I would never disagree with the folks here who prefer Bobby Casey or Padraig O’Keefe (or Paddy Canny, Joe Ryan, or Sean Ryan) for listening and to emulate.

But I also appreciate the authority, integrity, and personal expression in Seán Maguire’s music. I do believe he could play in a variety of styles, and yet always sound like himself.

I don’t play the fiddle but some of the best fiddle players I know have expressed an appreciation for Seán Maguire.

The few recordings of Neili Boyle I have heard also give evidence of a unique personal style based on amazing technique (and running high up the fingerboard).

To me it’s wonderful to be able to see and hear these recordings. Thanks again to the musicians.

PG

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Padraig O Keefe was a great admirer of Sean McGuire as was kerry accordion player[johnny oleary] who in a radio interview confirmed o keefes respect and liking for Mcguires fiddle playing“watch out for Mcguire he said one of the finest I have heard.”
ill go with Padraig o keefe and johnny o leary, rather than SteveShaw and Mark Hamer

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I wouldn’t like, or dislike, something based on the opinions of others but the fact that great players admire him tells me there is something of value in his playing. I think his style is fun, lively, rythmic, danceable and very musical.

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Willie Clancy, shortly before he died, said in an interview that out of the young pipers Finbar Furey was the one to watch.

The test would be, as it is with what O Keeffe said, would he still have said that twenty or more years later?

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prof Peter Laban
invalid comparison, Sean Mcguire was not a young boy in 1962, but a mature musician he was born in1927..
In the 1950s, he became part of a major touring group called the Malachy Sweeney Ceili Band; later he helped form the Sean McGuire Ceili Band and the Four Star Quartet Through the 1960s he was a leading member of the Gael-Linn Cabaret.so its reasonable to assume Sean was 25 upwards
Padraig died in 1963, so his comment was PRE 1963.
Willie was talking about a young up and coming talent .Padraig was talking about a mature player who had really impressed him.
who can say what o keefe would say 20 years later, i think it would have been complimentary, but who knows, so it is a valueless comment.

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There are facets of Sean McGuire’s playing that are worth listening to--his inventiveness, primarily.

But I’ve never like his overall approach, which seems to my ear to take control of the tune and bend it to his will. I prefer players who let the tune take the lead.

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Slain any windmills recently Dick?

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I agree (as usual) with Harmon’s take. He is clearly an inventive player having a great deal of fun with a tune in a manner he enjoys. Not for everyone I agree.

However, I don’t hear classical inflections influencing the tune negatively. We’ve all heard classically trained players attempting Irish music. It sounds like Professor Henry Higgins reciting Brendan Behan. Ever phrase articulated, yet somehow unnatural in its delivery. I didn’t hear that at all in this clip.

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Belfast have the best everything. Fiddle players, flute players, bodhran players…………

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In later life Sean Maguire did most of his playing as a solo artist and as such he didn’t just play the tunes, he put on a show. Although I often danced to Malachy Sweeney’s Ceili band in the fifties, I wouldn’t of been aware of Maguire’s presence until I saw him playing in the Hibernian Dance Hall in Fulham, London. I watched him play as a solo artist many times over the years since then. and always found myself mesmerized at his dexterity. The argument/ discussion between traditional musicians as to his ability to play Traditional Music has been going on since the sixties. All a matter of taste I know, but if I could play the fiddle I think I’d be full of admiration and very envious.
The guitarist in the UTube clip is Pat Conroy, who now plays backing guitar for that other genius on the fiddle, Jim McKillop.
A couple of years ago I had to good fortune to be part of a late night session with both those artists. An unforgettable session.

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My “judgement”, for what it’s worth, as stated above, was based on the two clips posted in this thread. I’ve listened to recordings of this bloke that sound much more musical than these clips, but even so his approach to playing Irish tunes won’t do for me at all. In my ever so humble opinion.

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Well McGuire’s “dexterity” isn’t anything unusual, unless you’ve never ventured out of first position.

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What’s not to like? One can quibble about whether it is pure drop I suppose, but for clean playing that lays out the tunes with good direction and attention to detail I doubt you can beat it. Perhaps he’s a bit like Alasdair Fraser is in Scottish music…gone beyond the bounds of the tradition. But as a solo artist he has to perform doesn’t he.

Besides I’d rather watch McGuire than Fraser staring lewdly at Natalie….

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From the above clips, I don’t hear “clean playing.” More like “scratchy, raspy, and thin.” Not Mr. McGuire at his best.

Plus, I’d rather watch just about anything than McGuire’s scowl. It seems to infect the tunes as well.

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LoL. You’re a hard man to argue with Will. I think some of the other clips are much better, but the scowl doesn’t bother me like Alasdair’s unrepentant horny look. (Or at least that is what I see).

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Surely, Alasdair’s simply admiring her musicality….

😎

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The first tracks I heard by Sean Maguire blew my socks off, but I’ve heard others that I hated, I particualrly dislike his playing of slow airs where I think his showman personality ebcomes overpowering. But some of his playing is wonderful.

- chris

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Maguire’s scowl - I’d imagine the fact that the man was fitted with a voice box due to throat cancer didn’t give him much to smile about.

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‘Scratchy, raspy and thin’ is fine with me. Love it. Are his variations ,here, rehearsed or ‘on the fly?’ I’m playing along with the jigs in the clip I posted and he changes the phrase almost every time he plays it.

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Wow ! didn’t know I’d raise so many hares… what impressed me… and made my day with those clips, was the impression of pleasure Mr MCGuire gives… and the thinking that if I can play at his age just with a tenth of the energy he shows, I’d be tremendously happy… the rest, sorry for you guys, is just a matter of personal taste…

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Nikita-you certainly made my day, I’ll thank you again. I’ll also agree that Pat Conroy is a great example for guitarists who play this music.

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“Maguire’s Scowl” sounds like a promising tune name.

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How ’bout “MaGuire’s Withering Scowl.” Should be in Eb minor and all in 5th position with lots of springing arpeggios and sautille strokes….

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"Surely, Alasdair’s simply admiring her musicality….

😎"

Welll…There’s certainly plenty of that to admire….

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I’m amazed by the lack of respect for McGuire on this thread. He must be at least in his 70’s in this clip and folk are moaning about his tone??? Feck sakes.

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Also, there is virtually no similarity between Fraser in Scottish music and McGuire in Irish. Sean McGuire was undoubtably a showman/entertainer. Alasdair Fraser has brought many forgotten tunes back to life, has created several summer schools that have benefited scores of Scottish fiddlers. The two both deserve maximum respect and cannot be compared to each other.

And sorry, but I find the insinuations about Alasdair in extremely bad taste. In the many times I’ve seen him play I’ve never seen a hint that these accusations are anything but sh1te.

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Sorry if I upset you bogman, but Alasdair’s relationship to Natalie seems to be well known among folks I know. Maybe they are just jealous and maybe you are right. I hope so. I certainly haven’t been a fly on the wall, but as I say the folks I know seem to agree about some things I won’t discuss here. That said he’s an amazing player, though I wish he’d stick to more traditional approaches. the early recordings are wonderful. But then I hoped that about Michael Flatley too.

That said I don’t see any problem at all comparing the two. Both are showmen/entertainers. Yeah different traditions, but still similar in approaches I think.

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bogman, here’s an elder gent who gets great tone out of his fiddle and has far better bow control and agility than Maguire ever did. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31-8MLA5kdU


Traditional music doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Maguire may be lauded by folks who think second position is a distant planet, but his technical abilities weren’t as remarkable as some make them out to be. And some of us just don’t like his playing on the OP clip.

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Disrespect?? How dare you call Frankie an “elder gent”.

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I liked the OP. I like Maguire’s stuff, just as I like lots of totally different stuff. Couldn’t stand Frankie Gavin in that last clip pretending to be something he isn’t. It’s weird - you go from the absolutely sublime playing of Grappelli, to … ahem … something different …

[In case people think I’m knocking him in general, obviously FG is a great trad player - I’d just rather that he stuck to something he can actually do.]

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cboody, not upset at all, but I still don’t agree they are comparable. I shared a bill with AF last year and he played with a very trad approach. He can do the entertainer thing but trad still appears to be his default. If he played in the same environment as the McGuire clip he’d most likely play in a lot more traditional fashion.

Will, yes of course everyone has different tastes. Actually, I’m not a fan of the Sean McGuire still but I enjoy the entertainment value. Sure, the tone was all the things described above, but he was in his seventies and poor health and I felt judging his playing as if he was 30 years younger was unfair. What he was trying to do, what was in his head made me smile. Grappelli? Well that’s just genius.

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“I’m not a fan of the Sean McGuire style”

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Yeah, Grappelli makes me want to quit *and* become a better fiddler all at once. 😏

Michael, you’re right. In that clip, Mr. Gavin looked young indeed, like he just fell off the master’s turnip cart….

Mind, what I dislike most about Maguire isn’t his tone but the way his personality or ego or sense of pride grinds at the tune till it’s mostly about the playing, no longer about the tune.

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Sean Maguire’s great. One of the greats. It doesn’t matter that you may not like his playing, what matters is that the strength of his dedication has done a power of good for the tradition.

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Well thanks Bogman and Micheal, I’m not a great fan of show offs, but what touched me in the vids is that Mr McGuire seems to have fun playing what he does… and isn’t that the core of music ? After that, who cares abot if it’s this or that… What I saw was an elder chap taking a craic playing… and like I said before, if when I’m his age I can still play and get the craic, even if I don’t play like him (which I never will, I do know my limits), I’ll be very happy.
and speaking of show-offs… about every concerts of traditional music I’ve been to has had one or the other bit of show-off… and most of them are quite boring, specially when it’s a show of technical ability, which I didn’t feel in McGuire’s playing - I just felt he was having fun…

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@ llig: Hear hear! Spot on.

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Amused by people criticising Sean McGuire. Envy?

If you think you can do better - post a clip.

Otherwise shut up.

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I don’t see a whole lot of criticism, just personal opinion, and opinions do not change his status as ‘great’, as Llig clearly points out.

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yes, happy camper,
envy, from a group of nonentities, who are not fit to wipe Sean Maguires boots, pathetic carpers.

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@bogman “cboody, not upset at all, but I still don’t agree they are comparable. I shared a bill with AF last year and he played with a very trad approach.”

I’ve heard him three times recently in concert with Natalie. All clearly in the showman camp. Hence my feelings. Very little strictly trad playing at all. I envy you hearing the other side of him.

When I listen to McGuire I hear someone making the tradition his own by filtering it through his technical abilities. As others have said I think he’s amazing given the age and health issues.

Llig has it right I guess about his role, though I’m reluctant to speak of that since I don’t think I have enough knowledge to.

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I’ve heard it from several Irish players of an earlier generation that when asked about Maguire’s playing, the proper response is “Yes, I wish I could play like that, and have enough sense not to.”

Happy Camper, I’ve posted clips in the past (Sound Lantern is no longer up and running). It doesn’t prove or disprove anything. But there are plenty of fiddlers (including myself) I’d rather listen to over Sean Maguire. And I’ll happily not “shut up” here just because that assaults your sensitivities. Get a grip, eh?

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Sorry, Happy Camper. We didn’t know having an opinion about a player’s style or any kind of music was contingent on being a completely brilliant musician yourself. Thanks for enlightening us.