Harry Manx to perform at Huntsman Aquarium this month

By Andy Walker

(Submitted photo) Harry Manx is bringing his unique stylings to the Fundy Discovery Aquarium this month.

SAINT ANDREWS – As a blues musician with heavy influences from India, Harry Manx considers himself part of a unique musical genre.

For example, he is likely the only musician you will find who performs blues on the 20-stringed Mohan Veena. He learned to play the unique instrument while studying under the man who invented it, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, while living in India for almost a decade.

A native of the Isle of Mann, who now calls Salt Spring Island, B.C., home base, Manx will perform Nov. 26 at the Huntsman Marine Science Centre’s Fundy Discovery Aquarium. Show time is 7:30 p.m. It will be his only show in the Maritimes and comes near the end of a tour of Quebec and western Canada.

“I have been in the Maritimes before and I am very much looking forward to coming back,” Manx said in a phone interview from Edmonton. “I don’t really know much about the venue, but it sounds cool to be playing in an aquarium.”

His family immigrated to Ontario when he was a child and by the time he was 15, Manx was working at the El Mocambo Blues club in Toronto, eventually working up to sound man while soaking in everything he could musically from the blues legends that performed there. He credits those years with laying the foundation for his career.

In his 20s, Manx headed to Europe and became a busker, becoming a one-man band performing with drums and cymbals. The next stop was India, which eventually led to the chance to study with Bhatt. He learned Eastern scales and eventually ragas, or deceptively complex and regimented musical patterns that form the basis of Indian composition.

During his 12 years in India, Manx began forging the connection between Indian ragas and blues scales, which eventually led to the Indo-blues hybrid that has become his signature style.

“Indian music moves a person inward. It’s traditionally used in religious ceremonies and during meditations because it puts you into this whole other place,” he noted.

“Western music has the ability to move you outward, into celebration and dance. There are some ragas that sound bluesy, and there are ways to bend strings while playing blues that sound Indian. I may be forcing the relationship between the two musical cultures, but I keep thinking they were made for each other. That leads me to more and more experimentation. The journey has been great so far.”

The tour is in support of his latest album, Way Out East, and presents a selection of his best compositions of the last 20 years. Accompanying him are Samidha Joglekar (vocals), Ravi Nimpali (tablas) and Clayton Doley (keyboard).

Manx said his unique musical stylings represent “my own development as a person. I’m searching for truth through art and spirituality. My songs are a synthesis of everything I’ve absorbed, all my experiences and I share that.”

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit https://www.huntsmanmarine.ca/.

The Saint Croix Courier