Doesn’t it seem that every year the gap between Mardi Gras and St Patrick’s Day just keeps getting shorter and shorter? However this year, New Orleans will have some help transitioning from the purple, gold and green of carnival to the emerald green of Ireland, thanks to the award-winning Brock McGuire Band as they once again bring their brand of authentic Irish music to the Irish House on St. Charles Avenue as part of their 2014 U.S. tour.
The Brock McGuire Band is fronted by accordionist Paul Brock, and fiddler Manus McGuire, both founding members of seminal Irish band, Moving Cloud. And with Gary O’Meara on banjo and mandolin, and Dennis Carey on piano, their music is a heady mix of traditional verve, and dynamic precision.
“We are primarily an Irish band, but we are very interested in other forms of music,” said Manus McGuire. “Two years ago we did Green Grass Blue Grass; a collaboration with Ricky Skaggs. We were always interested in the fusion, but I think that that album brought it on to the next level for us. It made us even more aware of the crossing over of different genres, and we want to bring that message to people in general – it is a fascinating musical journey. It is good for people to see the journey of Irish music - and what an important journey that was.”
According to McGuire, one of the best things about playing in the U.S. is that people are not only knowledgeable and curious about Irish music, and are also very receptive to the stories behind the tunes – never more so than in a multi-cultural city like New Orleans. McGuire describes touring in the States as a “learning process,” something that he says, as a musician, should never stop. On this tour, he went on to say, as well as playing at venues such as the Irish House, the band has both played, and taught Irish music at various colleges across the South.
“That is something that the band is very interested in,” said McGuire. “We do a lot of college work here in the States, and we enjoy the teaching element of that. And the standard of musicianship here, particularly amongst the young musicians, is just phenomenal. We find the States a little bit different from home - a lot of people in Ireland take the music for granted because it is part of our heritage and we all know about the music there. But here, the young people are very interested in the music; it is more popular than it has ever been.”
“And we learn from what we get back from the people as well. We hear some very interesting stories from older musicians about what life was like when they were coming up. You never stop learning…ever.”
The Brock McGuire Band will be performing at the Irish House, 1432 Saint Charles Avenue, on Saturday, 8 March at 7pm.
Further information is available at: The Irish House (504) 595-6755.