FolkWorld #71 03/2020
© Walkin' T:-)M

Article in German

Tony McManus & Julia Toaspern

Interested In Many Things, Open To Everything

Julia Toaspern together with Tony McManus live in concert; from Germany onto stages all over Europe and North America. How come? Julia reflects on her musical career so far!

Julia Toaspern

Artist Video Julia Toaspern @ FROG

Artist Video Tony McManus @ FROG

Julia spent her youth in violin orchestras and choirs performing classical and sacred music. Then she started playing the guitar and became a huge fan of 90's pop and rock music such as Nirvana and Hanson. Julia also got to know Scottish bagpipe music and Irish traditional music. During an elongated stay in New York she wrote her first original songs.

Relating to her two solo albums, Julia claims: »The first record is more folky, the second much more jazzy, but also more folk because unlike the first Irish and American tunes are represented. By the way, there is also a German folk song - we Germans have some very nice ones too.«

Besides playing a whole range of instruments - violin, guitar, banjo, flute, drums - Julia is interested in many things musically. »All in all, I am very versatile and all the influences can be heard musically. In addition, almost everything has a very direct personal connection. In other respects, every good musician is a role model for me. Everyone has such different strengths and abilities, I am constantly impressed by so many and try to be open to everything.«

Tony McManus & Julia Toaspern: Live in Concert

One of the surprises of 2019 was Julia's concert tour with Celtic fingerstyle guitarist Tony McManus. How did that collaboration came about? »Tony and I met a few years ago at a concert in Berlin that he gave with Italian guitarist Beppe Gambetta. We talked about Bach during the break and had found each other with it. In the beginning it was a big challenge to play with and next to such a virtuoso master, but if you recognize the difference it will be easier and enriching. Of course, we also had things in common, that is musical preferences and understanding. The versatility and variety of repertoire and sounds (guitar duos, guitar/violin, songs) make it exciting.«

»The repertoire has slowly built up over a few months, in which we played a lot together and watched what we wanted to lay our hands on. We challenge each other and have complementary strengths which sometimes pushes us to our limits and ideally allows us to outgrow ourselves. I give more jazz harmonies, dynamic structures and classical arrangements, Tony introduces traditional repertoire and a wealth of ideas for implementation on the guitar.«

Julia and Tony have played a lot of stages all across Europe, Australia and North America. At the moment they are planning further concerts together and are working on a new repertoire that is supposed to involve their classical side a little bit more. Apart from that Julia would like to continue performing her own songs and also put together a jazz repertoire. Watch out for news @!

Photo Credits: Julia Toaspern / Tony McManus (unknown/website).

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