Canadian Harry Manx studied the mohan veena in India with Vishwa
The Circle Expands
While most Hindustani guitarists are Indian, there are exceptions.
Many consider Harry Manx to be the best North American mohan
veena player. Manx, a Canadian who also plays bottle-neck blues
and rootsy folk music, went to the source to learn the instrument.
“I was studying the sitar,” Manx details, “and I was also a slide
player, so the mood was set for me to discover the mohan veena.
Oddly enough, I was in Japan when I first heard it. I was playing
on the street one day, and this magical sound was coming out of
a record shop. I just stopped dead in my tracks because I realized
it was slide, but it was sitar—it was everything I really loved. The
musician turned out to be VM Bhatt.”
Manx tracked down Bhatt in India and began studying with the
master. “VM Bhatt gave me my first mohan veena,” says Manx,
“because he saw I was a dedicated student. I just came and I
wouldn’t leave, so I passed the test.”
Eventually, Manx toured with his guru, backing him on tambu-
ra, an instrument that supplies the drone in classical Indian music.
To fully experience Hindustani slide, you really need to watch
a master at work. These videos reveal not only the incredible
virtuosity of these guitarists, but also the emotional forces
they can conjure from wood, wire, and a steel bar.
Accompanied by Subhajyoti
Guha on tabla, Barun Kumar
Pal performs a haunting
raga on the hansa veena in
this 2008 performance.
You Tube Search term: Raga Suraranjini on Indian Slide Guitar
Artful camerawork allows
us to hover over VM Bhatt’s
mohan veena and get a
clear view of his bar work
and fingerstyle technique.
You Tube Search term: Vishwa Mohan Bhatt performs
VM Bhatt and his son Salil
trade blistering lines on the
mohan veena and satvik
veena in this 2009 festival
You Tube Search term: Salil Bhatt Satvik Veena Pt. Vishwa
Mohan Bhatt Mohan Veena
plays three different slide
guitars of his design—the
massive chaturangui, the
gandharvi, and tiny anandi.
His virtuosity shines on each.
In this rare British television
broadcast, the guitarist who
started it all—Brij Bhushan
Kabra—plays his modified
Gibson Super 400 onstage
backed by Zakir Hussain.
You Tube Search term: Indian Guitar by Brij Bhushan Kabra 1
Harry Manx sings Van
Morrison’s “Crazy Love”
while accompanying himself
on the mohan veena.