Canadian Artists Featured in Hard Luck Café Concert Series At Huntington’s Cinema Arts Centre, Nov. 19

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Toronto-based singer-songwriter Shawna Caspi and Canadian ukulele bluesman Manitoba Hal are the featured artists during the Folk Music Society of Huntington’s Hard Luck Café concert Manitoba-Hal-Shawna-Caspiseries at the Cinema Arts Centre (423 Park Avenue, Huntington, NY) on Thursday, Nov. 19. The 8:30 p.m. concert in the Cinema’s Sky Room will be preceded by an open mic at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are  $15 ($10 for Cinema Arts Centre and FMSH members). For more information, visit or call (631) 425-2925.

Shawna Caspi is a guitar-picking, classically trained folkie with a sweet tooth for a good story, a sly lyrical wit, and a rich, powerful voice. The Toronto-based singer-songwriter sings of love, travel, home, and heart, distilling each experience into a series of vibrant snapshots, colored with humor and grace, and arranged with care and craft. Her latest release, Apartments for Lovers (2014), is a solo guitar and voice album that showcases her warm, rich voice and remarkable fingerstyle guitar technique.

 For 15 years, Shawna has been playing the guitar she bought at the Ottawa Folklore Centre, one of Canada’s best-loved music stores. This cherished instrument has accompanied her on tour through seven provinces, where she has played notable music festivals. It was also her constant companion as she played on the long haul trains between Montreal and Halifax and between Vancouver and Toronto as part of the VIA Rail On Board Entertainment Program.

“Shawna Caspi has the rare gift of presence that immediately invites audience engagement, from the first strum of her skilled guitar playing to the last exquisite note she sings,” says Andy Frank, co-founder of Roots Music Canada.  

Manitoba Hal is a guitarist, ukulele player and songwriter. Using a combination of looping technology and effects, he creates a performance that is one-of-a-kind. His combination of finger picking and strumming creates an instantly accessible sound that complements his fresh and inventive originals and arrangements of traditional blues.

A consummate blues man, Manitoba Hal has toured Canada extensively with a ukulele. Picturing him in his 100 year-old cottage in Nova Scotia, one can’t help but wonder how he can sound more like he grew up in the American Deep South, playing raw, swamp, delta, Cajun and zydeco style blues. Hal developed the blues sound when he lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba (where he also got his stage name).

Noting that “Winnipeg, often referred to as the Chicago of the north, is situated in a delta between the Red and Assiniboine rivers,” Hal says: “I was born at the blues and when I found that music inside me, I came alive and my soul started expressing itself in songs that flowed with that music. The blues is where my soul came into this world. Where it will end up I don’t know, but I’m ready for the journey.”

Shawna Caspi and Manitoba Hal with Michael Kornfeld, president of the Folk Music Society of Huntington

Shawna Caspi & Manitoba Hal with Michael Kornfeld, president-Folk Music Society of Huntington

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