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Music Features

Manchester, England

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I grew up in the north of England and it was generally always grey skies and rain. We don’t tend to get the best of weather up here, you could probably call it dull at best; like the weather things often seemed pretty bleak (Being a teenager at the time and all). I found, along with the people I hung around with at the time, a certain type of music to define how I felt, and there was a certain place that was the home of that…Manchester.

Old Trafford at sunset

Mecca to Manchester

I actually hail from the other side of the Peaks (Peak District) to Manchester, much closer to Sheffield and although the city is great and has a rich musical and football history in itself, I still feel much more of an affinity with Manchester. Manchester has become my spiritual home. That statement probably sounds pretty crazy to a lot of people that live there but it is home to two of my greatest passions in life, football and music. It is home of my favourite football team Manchester United and the birthplace of bands from my youth The Smiths and The Stone Roses. A perfect example of these two passions of mine blending is when Man U comes out to the sound of The Stone Roses’ classic song ‘This Is The One’ before a game.

I have traveled to Manchester numerous times over the years (a real pilgrimage I know!) and the city can come across like many other cities in England, fairly ordinary and drab and suffering from the same economic illness as most of the rest of the country. Arrive at Old Trafford, otherwise known as The Theater of Dreams, however and hear the legendary songs and for me the history and true culture of the great city comes to life and it’s good times once again!

Morrisey & Marr playing live

Pic courtesy of Paul Slattery

 

My Top 5 Online Guitarists

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I love guitar music. You’ve probably worked that out by now. I’m not a very good player at the moment but I’m learning all the time. YouTube has become a really good resource for me, both for learning purposes and for inspiration. Seeing the talent some people have (even at a very early age) is great but also quite daunting. I know I’ll never be as good as them but I also believe a lot of good music is about being true and actual emotions… at least it’s not a competition!

1. Andy Mckee

The guy from Topeka, Kansas now has a huge fan base and crafts compositions perfectly suited to acoustic guitar. He tours regularly and released his sixth album ‘Joyland’ in 2010.

 

2. Igor Presnyakov

Igor! This guy has become a bit of a legend online. Igor was born in Moscow, Russia and studied classical music at a nearby academy. He graduated as a guitarist and a conductor for classical ensembles. He then moved on to the Netherlands to continue to learn and further his career. His music incorporates influences from numerous genres and he is noted for his percussive style of play and for incorporating a song’s melody into his compositions along with the harmony. From time to time he also comes out with vocals for some sections of his songs. He is know for dressing up for his performances and I think my personal favourite was his Super Mario outfit worn whilst playing the Super Mario theme tune! He has a large following and everyone loves him online, seems like a very likable guy.

 

3. Ewan Dobson

A classical guitarist from Ontario, Canada he is noted for his intense virtuoso fingerpicking style heavily influenced by old school video game music. He is also noted for his crazy green screen backgrounds in his videos that many say aren’t edited, that it simply happens when he plays!  His style combines fast rhythm with melody and he covers many musical genres and he enjoys competing in fingerstyle guitar competitions. In 1993 he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and mild Tourette’s Syndrome. He performed at the Tourette’s Syndrome National Conference in Canada to raise awareness of the issue of Tourette’s Syndrome. Like Igor he dresses for the occasion.

 

4. Sungha Jung

Probably the most well known of all fingerpick guitarists is Sungha Jung. He is still only 17 and his skill level and technique is amazing, he started creating his videos when he was much younger!

 

5. Gabriella Quevedo

Another young guitar prodigy with great talent who sites Sungha Jung as a large influence, she is only 16. Wish I started playing that young and was anywhere near as good!

 

Hope you enjoy the videos!