© 2024 Milwaukee Public Media is a service of UW-Milwaukee's College of Letters & Science
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

One Man Band: The Virtuosity Of Irish Guitarist Shane Hennessy

Bonnie North
Shane Hennessy performing in Studio C.

Hearing, and seeing, guitar virtuoso and composer Shane Hennessy is magical. It’s technique, sure. He has it in spades. But his music goes well beyond playing lots of notes fast. It's in turns lyrical, polyrhythmic, and always full of melody. Plus, the sheer joy he exudes while playing is infectious.


Hennessy not only plays, he composes. He makes it clear that when he does write music, he's thinking of it as a band leader, not just the guitarist:

"When I start writing any kind of music, the guitar is nowhere near me," he says. "And the reason for that is I figured out very early on that if I wrote on the guitar, A — it sounded like I was writing a guitar tune as opposed to a piece of music, and B — my hands wanted to do what they already knew how to do."

The 26-year-old is in town for a slew of performances this week, including 'Tosa Tonight on Wednesday, the Wilson Center Guitar Festival in Brookfield on Thursday and at Irish Fest through the weekend.

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.