Passion and precision, authenticity and diversity: these are the hallmarks of Ireland’s traditional music quintet, The Brock Mcguire Band. They are steeped in tradition and perform it with abiding respect and rousing creativity. The band’s tight, tenacious blend of instruments often reaches fever pitch on stage, and their repertoire runs wide and deep, emphasizing mostly Irish music but also sprinkling in exciting arrangements of Shetland, French-Canadian, and other Celtic traditions.
Founding members button accordionist Paul Brock and fiddler Manus McGuire are two of Ireland’s most celebrated traditional musicians, and have been at the forefront of Irish music for many years through their joint work with the group Moving Cloud. Manus is also a founding member of Buttons & Bows, and both bands, ranking among Ireland’s finest, have helped to introduce international audiences to the virtuosity of their playing.
A multiple All-Ireland champion born in Athlone, County Westmeath, and now residing in Ennis, County Clare, Paul has many albums to his credit, including the classic Omós do Joe Cooley with fiddler Frankie Gavin, and his solo album Mo Cairdín called “a master piece of accordion playing” by the Rough Guide to Irish music, 2001. Manus was raised in Sligo Town and now lives in East Clare. His solo album Saffron and Blue was placed in many overseas top-ten music polls and was also named best album of 2000-and Manus, best male musician of the same year-by the Irish American News.
Performing with the Brock McGuire Band are two highly-rated musicians on the traditional music scene: young Galway player Enda Scahill, a five-time All-Ireland champion on tenor banjo and a senior All-Ireland champion on mandolin, and his brother Fergal Scahill, a superb multi- instrumentalist who has an all-Ireland senior fiddle title to his credit and who drives the rhythm section of the band on guitar and keyboards.
Growing up in Sligo in the 1960s when fiddle music had regained popularity in its native home, the Northwest of Ireland, Manus McGuire was ideally placed to carry on a tradition made legend by fiddlers Michael Coleman, James Morrison, and Paddy Killoran thirty years previously. From an early age, he learned various dance tunes by his father’s knee and followed his older brother, Seamus, into the national traditional music arena that was steadily gathering momentum. In 1970, at the young age of 14, Manus won Sligo’s prestigious Fiddler of Dooney competition. Since then, he has toured extensively in North America and Canada.
Manus has recorded eight albums, including The Humours of Lisadell (Folk Legacy, 1980), and Carousel (Gael Linn, 1984),with Seamus; Buttons & Bows (Green Linnet, 1983), First month of Summer (Green Linnet, 1987) and Grace Notes (Gael Linn, 1991), all with the group Buttons & Bows; Moving Cloud (Green Linnet, 1994) and Foxglove (Green Linnet, 1997), with the group Moving Cloud; and a solo debut, Saffron & Blue (Green Linnet, 2000) This last recording was placed in the Top Ten polls of the Boston Globe and Irish Echo newspapers. It was also named Best Album of 2000–and Manus, Best Male Musician of the same year–by the Irish American News.