Harry Manx has been dubbed an “essential link” between the music of East and West, creating musical short stories that wed the tradition of the Blues with the depth of classical Indian ragas. His unique sound is bewitching and deliciously addictive to listen to.
Harry forged this distinctive style by studying at the feet of the masters, first as a sound man in the blues clubs of Toronto during his formative years and then under a rigorous five-year tutelage with Vishwa Mohan Bhatt in India. Bhatt is the inventor of the 20-stringed Mohan Veena, which has become Harry’s signature instrument.
Manx’s Indo-blues hybrid is a style that’s a direct byproduct of the nomadic life he has led, a life that has resulted in his highly compelling and charismatic musical persona.
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.
Manx’s time in India was spent meditating with different masters, and several decades of meditation and yoga have allowed Manx to delve deeper into the music, imbuing his work with an intangible spiritual quality. “I always cloak my messages with inspirational ideas in a story,” explained Manx. “I also try and reach the listeners’ hearts rather than their minds.”
Years of busking on the street in various locations around the world have taught him how to truly connect with and move an audience. His training in India allowed him to approach music from a different perspective, where the focus is on the song and on the transfer of energy between the performer and the listener. What makes Harry an exceptional performer is his ability to completely give himself over to the song in the moment, creating a deep well of emotion for the audience to draw from. It’s in the live setting, Manx says, that a bridge between “heavenly” India and “earthy” American blues is most effectively built.
Manx is a prolific artist, releasing nine albums in an eight-year span with no signs of stopping. He has received five Maple Blues Awards, five Juno nominations, the Canadian Folk Music Award in 2005 for Best Solo Artist and won CBC Radio’s “Great Canadian Blues Award” for 2007.
His latest CD, “Bread and Buddha” is a musical culmination of thirty years of travel. It is a lush, well seasoned blend of roots, blues, folk and Indian sounds that covers the world map. Ample instrumentation is used including piano, drums, bass, scored strings and steel & acoustic guitars. Two years in the making, this collection of songs is a soulful meditation on the ephemeral nature of human existence.
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 hard to resist, easy to digest and keep audiences coming back for more.