"If you haven't
heard this man yet then why the hell not?"
One Man Show by Donal Maguire
Michael Davitt: The Forgotten Hero?
Avondale, 16 August 2006
"Donal Maguire's one man show on the life of Michael Davitt proved the highlight of this year's Parnell Summer School and a fitting tribute to Michael Davitt. Never underestimate the power of song! More than all the academic lectures, Maguire's selection of original songs and ballads brought a forgotten hero to life.
"A capacity audience was held spell-bound as Maguire traced the life and times of Davitt in song and story, words and music. Whether singing unaccompanied or accompany himself on guitar or mandolin, Maguire commanded total attention as he recreated the lost experience of eviction, emigration and hard-ship. The programme included songs of land and labour, love and politics from the Irish and English folk-tradition, all rendered with a gusto and passion.
"Maguire is an outstanding singer and musician. His performance was greeted with a well-deserved standing ovation. If you get the chance to hear him, take it. If you have heard him already, hear him again."
Parnell Summer School
New York City
"An evening with Dónal Maguire is a five star event...one star for his outstanding voice, one for his exceptional repertoire of Irish traditional songs, one for his unique selection of English folk songs, one for his virtuoso mandolin and banjo work, and one for his wry wit and keen insight."
Roots Music Club
Greenwich, S.E. London
"As a club organiser, I have witnessed the evolution of Dónal as a performer over a period of nearly 30 years. What made him good then is still what makes him good now, namely, that he is an outstanding singer and a talented multi-instrumentalist. His repertoire has developed from mainly Irish ballads to include contemporary material, yet he still performs outstanding interpretations of some of the classic ballads. His instrumental playing is assured and technically superb and he is a witty and self-possessed presenter of his material."
Bothy Folk Club
"Add a knowledge of the Irish Tradition to a voice and instrumental ability that command admiration, mix with an urbane manner and season with a wit as dry as unoaked chardonnay, simmer gently for an hour or two and presto! Perfect Dónal Maguire! An evening with Dónal Maguire is a truly unique and absorbing experience and one never to be missed. Hell or High Water simply don't come into the equation."
Hale End Folk Club
"Dónal has what we might call 'Roots', but he has a voice too, and what a voice! I suspect that he has attracted a fair share of envy in his time. It is a wonderfully rich and natural voice that brings a song to life. His true mastery of vocal technique and passion make each performance unique. Music of all kinds is an integral part of Dónal's life. He recognises a good song and enthusiastically performs it in his own tasteful and inimitable style."
The Rhythm Station
"There was a pleasing balance of songs accompanied, songs unaccompanied and instrumentals. The whole programme was well controlled within a relaxed framework and the introductions were interspaced with interesting anecdotes and pertinent information. Dónal, renowned for his singing and virtuosity on tenor banjo, also featured on the mandolin and guitar. The material chosen displayed the width and depth of his knowledge, both in content and interpretation."
The Tiger Club
3rd Nov 2002
Praise was also heaped on our guest for the night, DONAL MAGUIRE: "brilliant", "one of the best we've ever had", "great voice, choice of material and humour and rapport with audience", "knows his sources and gives due homage to them", " humbling, the sheer mastery - and the b***d plays as well as he sings!". Al Atkinson took the time to send in a complete review which merits quoting in full:
"Never having heard Donal Maguire before, I was tremendously impressed and delighted by his performance last Sunday. His choice of songs, I thought, was impeccable - completely new to me or, at least, excellent new versions. Donal's singing showed a total command of the material - a subtle and powerful voice that got the last drop out of every song.
"The musicianship was also excellent (it would be nice to provide him with a couple of local backing musicians on another visit). Maybe we could have managed with a touch less of the blarney, but that's probably just me being greedy and wanting another couple of songs in its place. Donal was genial and funny, obviously enjoyed himself immensely and proved to be a very memorable and inspiring guest. It was heartening to see such a good crowd present - it really does make a difference and that room needs to be fullish to work properly."
Thanks Al and to sum up the night, an e-mail (yes, even folkies use them) from Pete Burnham: "Sunday was the best night I've had at the Tiger for some time. A superb guest that brought out the quality of local singers that the Tiger can be proud of."