Friday, July 16, 2010

Hello there my old friend...

I've been listening to the blues lately and it feels like I've rediscovered one of my oldest and best friends. I used to study the blues, I listened strictly to blues and I went to every blues show I could afford. I forgot how much I missed it.

One of the best performances I've ever witnessed was by an artist named Harry Manx. He played an instrument called the Mohan Vena and it was like nothing I had ever seen, probably because there are only a few westerners to ever learn how to play it. Harry is one and George Harrison of the Beatles was another. Manx actually went and lived in India for 12 years, 5 of them with the inventor of the Mohan Vena to learn the instrument.

For the performance I attended, Manx played solo on several different instruments including the Mohan Vena, and when he finished he announced that he was going to play another set inside on the smaller acoustic stage. At his announcement, the 2000 or so people at the venue proceeded to crowd into the bar sized acoustic stage and watch him play for another hour, completely ignoring the next national act to hit the big stage. It was one of the most profound things I'd ever seen happen at a concert. He was able to move the audience like no other performer I've seen.

For the longest time I couldn't find much about him on the internet. It was probably 8 years ago I saw him perform and at the time we didn't have youtube, myspace or google and many musicians still didn't have personal websites.

As I was writing this morning I decided I would search for him again and was pleased to see he's all over the web now and is still performing quite often.

For your listening pleasure I've posted a couple videos of Harry performing. The first, Manx tells a bit of his story and plays a beautiful song called "Rueban's Train" on the Mohan Vena. The second is a song you should recognize.

1 comment:

Jake said...

Its about time you got back to the blues. Even though i listen to almost anything (except country) blues and roots are what i always seem to go back to and am moved the most by. John Lee Hooker, Nina Simone, and Fred McDowel for starters are a few that get me everytime.