This afternoon, the one concert I’m going to listen to all the way through is a sweet Canadian singer song writer, Harry Manx.
This afternoon, the one concert I’m going to listen to all the way through is a sweet Canadian singer song writer, Harry Manx. Jennie Dell

A bluesy afternoon

IT'S Good Friday at Bluesfest and man it's good.

It is a slow bluesy, sunny afternoon.

The crowd is swelling. Lines for foods and drinks that had been short and quick at lunchtime are now longer and slower.

It gives us a chance to talk to strangers, one of the delights of the festival.

"Man, I should move here!" say US bluesman David Bromberg from the stage.

"This is the best run festival I have ever been to.

"The stage crews are incredible and you guys are f...ing great!

"Where did you learn to like this stuff?"

Gaynor Crawford is the publicist for Bluesfest. She's writing emails, answering her phone and welcoming metro-journalists. People ask her a lot of questions.

She prefaces most of her answers with: "I might die before then, but..."

She turns to me: "Thank God the heat's gone out of the sun," she says.

This afternoon, the one concert I'm going to listen to all the way through is a sweet Canadian singer song writer, Harry Manx.

He spends two months in Australia every two years. His songs are thoughtful and his music is unique.

He's a master of the Mohan Veena, a 20 stringed instrument that looks like a guitar and sounds like a sitar.

He took five years out in India sitting at the feet of the instrument's inventor, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, meditating and practising.

Manx brings the sounds of the east and the west together.

"I try to reach the listener's heart, rather than their minds," he says.

"I think my music has done well partly as a result of my years of mediation...I can't take complete responsibility."

But there is nobody but him who is responsible for this enchanted crowd at the Jambalaya stage as he plays some of the top songs from his albums.

"Here is a song about hard times, struggles and dark days," he announces.

"It's a love song."

And he sings: "Let it go, let it go, let the sword of vengeance rest...let it go, may your mercy manifest."

Beside him is a young man playing a keyboard with the Hammond organ switch turned on.

At first glance he looks like a teenager but he is playing with the consummate skill of a long time professional.

"That's Clayton Doley, Manx tells me after the show

He is from Sydney but he lives near me in Toronto now."

The two of them make beautiful music. They are on again today at 7.30pm on the APRA stage.



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