Friday, July 1, 2011

Off the Beaten Track: Sean McGee

This week, we welcome Sean McGee a professional musician and composer. He now specialises in tango music, a stark contrast to his early days as a long-haired, heavy metal band member. Sean’s music can be found at

I am a musician. As a composer, I have worked for independent film and TV projects and until a short time ago, I was also the long-haired 'Extreme Metal' lead guitarist with a successful British band, Thirteenth Sign.

A few years ago, I decided to switch on the BBC's TV show Strictly Come Dancing. It just so happened that the show that night featured an Argentine Tango demonstration by Vincent Simone & Flavia Cacace.

Wow! I was mesmerised. The dancers... The music...

I was so excited by the sheer connection of soul and heart that tango could bring, I questioned my whole involvement and reasons for working within the heavy-metal scene. There was a real honesty and beauty in the music and dance that I didn't get when I played heavy metal every week.

And as I'd already worked with film I understood how a connection with music and emotion worked.
Dance was a new and exciting world to me, and I wanted in.

So I quit the band!

I managed to track down a local Argentine Tango class, and myself and my fiancée, Linzi, tripped along as soon as we could. From the very first bar of music and basic steps, we were hooked.

I was drawn to this exciting music, especially the Electro Tango. I’ve since become a big fan of bands such as Gotan Project, Baja Fondo, and Tanghetto. That was nearly two years ago, and we’re still continuing regular classes and milongas (tango dances) and are now taking International Dance Teachers Association medals.

But this is only the beginning of my story...

In February last year, I booked tickets to see my dance idols, Vincent and Flavia, in a local show at St Ives, Cambridgeshire. I was fortunate enough to have a brief word with them after the show. I was feeling cheeky, so I asked them if anyone had ever written music specifically for them. I’d been toying with the idea of writing original music alongside new choreography, and I was keen to gauge their interest.

They were very interested, but because they were so tied up with Strictly Come Dancing, they suggested I contact them in the not-so-distant future. When Flavia asked me, “Where were you three years ago?” I was floored and a little disappointed. They’d been looking for someone to write music for them but couldn’t find anyone that suited. Yet here I was, desperate to work with them. Flavia’s question inspired me to write my first Electro Tango track, “Three Years Too Late”.

Flavia, Sean and Vincent
I took the tune to my dance class, and we all danced through it together. I was surprised with the sheer excitement from the whole class and my dance instructors. People kept coming up to me and saying, "You must do an album!" I knew they were right, but I needed to raise funds. So I sold some of my heavy metal band equipment, and I invested in some new equipment that would allow me to produce the best Electro Tango album I could. I wrote solidly for four months, and by the summer of 2010, I’d completed the album. Nebulosa was born!

I contacted Vincent and Flavia when I started on the artwork for the album. After all, they’d been my inspiration, and I was hoping they might give me a brief testimonial for the cover. Several weeks passed without word, then the Thursday before I was due to send the album off for pressing, I got the email that changed my life—Vincent and Flavia absolutely loved my music!
Heavy metal days

In fact, they loved it so much, they wanted to join forces with me and appear on my album cover. They wanted to sell it through their website and market the CD in the media with their blessing. I couldn’t believe that my idols believed in me and loved my work!

The CD, Nebulosa, was released in September last year, and by Christmas sales had covered all the production costs. We’ve sold many copies in the U.K., as well as to the USA and Australia. Word got around, and I received an invitation to perform with a band at the London River Tango Festival. The local BBC stations, as well as independent radio stations and national press, have all run features on Nebulosa, and the interest continues to grow.

I’m in the process of writing the “difficult” second album, but I have to say, the tango is still flowing through my veins. Flavia named the first completed track Pensiero (Italian for thought), and I’m currently looking for a record company to work with. I plan to complete the new album and put together a line up of top musicians to take the “UK Electro Tango” on the road.

Sean and Flavia
My time as a heavy-metal musician feels like a lifetime ago, and my journey as a tango dancer and musician is only just beginning. I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner.

My Twitter is: @SeanAMcGee
Vincent & Flavia website:
Strictly Come Dancing website:
Thirteenth Sign website:


  1. How wonderful it is to discover what you're really meant to do and be successful at it as well! This is an inspiring story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  2. Sean, what a true adventure, one that sounds almost like a fairy tale, except I know your hard work, perseverance, and talent had a lot to do with making it a reality. I can't wait to check out your new music, and maybe the old ones too. Awesome story--thanks for sharing it with us and all good wishes for continued success! We'll be watching (and listening)!

  3. Absolutely inspiring! Good luck with your second album.

  4. Hello!
    Forgive me for not replying sooner but I've been hit with the 'dreaded' flu ....... of the man variety!!

    I just wanted to add my thanks to you all for your lovely comments!
    When you truly find what you're supposed to do with a natural given talent, its a real mind-bender!!
    The 2nd CD is now coming together and I'm also preparing to play a show at the Thames Festival later this year in London. It's very exciting.
    Please stay in touch one and all!

  5. Oh Sean, man flu, how tragic! ;-) I hope you feel better soon.

    Isn't it amazing when you find out what you KNOW you're born to do--and I know it shows in your music. I am in awe. Good luck at the Thames Festival and I look forward to CD number 2!