Bob Jensen & Tony McManus Release The Plover’s Nest
Canadian spoken word poet Bob Jensen and Scottish-Canadian guitar virtuoso Tony McManus have released The Plover’s Nest, the first single from their Live in Australia CD, recorded in Brisbane on March 13th of this year. The pair’s tour of Australia included a headline set at the fabled Port Fairy Folk Festival, which included special guests from three continents performing and interpreting the poetry and music of Jensen.
The Plover’s Nest is original poetry set to the music of the 19th century composer, Eric Satie. “I love Satie,” says Jensen, “And Gnossienne No. 1 is my favourite piece of his. When I heard Tony’s version from his Mysterious Boundaries CD, I knew I had to write a poem around the music. Tony’s reading of it seemed to me to be an apology, a cry for redemption. It was exquisite.”
The duo’s Australian tour was a great success until the pandemic forced them to cancel the last week of their dates. They played several sold out shows and received numerous standing ovations and encores.
Conjuring a unique but universal language from that most ubiquitous of instruments, the acoustic guitar, Tony McManus has both extended and transcended the parameters of contemporary Celtic music. Ranked by peers and predecessors alike alongside the guitar world’s all-time greats, his fiendishly dexterous, dazzlingly original playing draws on traditions from the entire Celtic diaspora - Scotland, Ireland, Brittany, Galicia, Asturias, Cape Breton, Quebec - along with still further-ranging flavours, such as jazz and east European music. Long applauded for his uncanny ability to transpose the delicate, complex ornamentation characteristic of traditional bagpipe or fiddle tunes - even the phrasing of a Gaelic song – onto his own six strings, McManus is increasingly being acknowledged also as a pioneering figure in bridging the realms of Celtic music and other guitar genres.
Canadian born and bred Bob Jensen has a lifetime of writing under his belt. In his youth he was a traveling folk singer and made one recording called First Time Since August, and later went on to write the award-winning novel, Matchbox Funeral. He has collaborated on songwriting with many prestigious artists around the world, including England’s legendary Martin Simpson, Zimbabwe’s Black Umfolosi and Nashville singer-songwriter, Alan Rhody who has had #1 radio hits in America and Australia and who has been covered by dozens of country music legends such as George Jones, The Oakridge Boys and Tanya Tucker. In 2017, Jensen completed a book of 100 poems interpreting the paintings of Marc Chagall, an artist he has loved since he was a child. He is currently working on several print and spoken word projects.