East meets West in Manx’s music

HARRY MANX plays March 25 at the R.E.M. Lee Theatre. Doors open 7:30 p.m. Show starts at 8 p.m. Manx has been dubbed an “essential link” between the music of East and West

A MUSICIAN who blends Eastern sounds with folk/blues music for a unique sound all his own is coming to town.

Called one of the world’s most original folk-world-blues musicians, Harry Manx is known as an “essential link” between the music of East and West for his innovative mix of traditional blues and classical Indian ragas.

A master of the Mohan Veena (a 20-string sitar/guitar hybrid) and lap-slide guitar, Manx combines the mysticism of Indian music with the mudflat-blues of Mississippi to quickly envelop listeners into what has been dubbed “the Harry Zone.”

Blend Indian folk melodies with slide guitar blues, add a sprinkle of gospel and some compelling grooves and you’ll get Manx’s unique “mysticssippi” flavour.

It’s in the live setting, Manx says, that the bridge between “heavenly” India and “earthy” American blues is most effectively built.

“Indian music moves inward,” he explains. “It’s traditionally used in religious ceremonies and meditation, because it puts you into this whole other place.

“But Western music has the ability to move out, into celebration and dance…I love to see that working — that effect on the audience,” says Manx.

Born on the Isle of Man, Manx spent his childhood in Canada and left in his teens to live in Europe, Japan, India and Brazil.

It was Indian music that captured his attention and in the mid-80s he began a five-year tutelage with Rajasthani Indian musician Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (Grammy winner with Ry Cooder for A Meeting by the River), who gave Manx his custom-made, self-designed Mohan Veena, allowing Manx to forge a new path with his now signature east-meets-west style of music.

He has appeared at many prestigious festivals, world-class theatres, concert halls and infamous Blues clubs around the globe, playing the Mohan Veena, lap steel, harmonica, stomp box, and banjo.

Manx is a prolific artist, releasing nine albums, which have garnered five Juno nomination, in a eight-year span.

He has received seven Maple Blues Awards and also holds honours from the Canadian Folk Music Awards, Vancouver magazine Georgia Straight, and the South Australia Blues Society.

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