Manitoba Hal is a guitarist, songwriter and ukulele player. 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 compliments his fresh and inventive originals and
arrangements of traditional blues.
Manitoba Hal is a consummate blues man, having toured Canada extensively with a ukulele. Picturing
him in his 100 year old cottage in Nova Scotia, one can’t help wonder how someone can sound like he
grew up in the Deep South of the States and play raw, swamp, delta, Cajun and zydeco style blues. Hal
developed the blues sound when he lived in Winnipeg Manitoba (where he also got his name).
“Winnipeg, often referred to as the Chicago of the north, is situated in a delta between the Red and
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”.
About why he made the switch from guitar to the ukulele, Hal replies, “I noticed that sonically it
occupied this space that was in pitch above my voice. This gave my vocals a lot more room in the song
without colliding with the notes of the accompaniment as they did when I played guitar also I noticed
that people seemed amazed at the sounds I was producing with the ukulele. The last thing that clinched
my decision to switch to uke full time was that for all the years and concerts I’ve given as a guitarist,
people usually didn’t tell me stories of their life when I play guitar. [However], people seemed
compelled to communicate about their life when the uke is played. I like that.”
Peter Hodgson of Mixdown Magazine writes “Manitoba Hal has created something wholly unique and
idiosyncratic out of several elements that already existed. He’s not the first guitarist to switch over to
ukulele. Nor is he the first musician to use looping pedals. And he’s certainly not the first guy to play
the blues, but the way he approaches the combination of those elements, and mixes it with his own
musical sensibilities, is just perfect. A tireless live performer, ambassador for the uke, and all-round