LA HORA DEL BLUES
European Blues Union

 

CRONICA DEL EUROPEAN BLUES CHALLENGE
Torrita di Siena. 7/10 Abril 2016

La villa de Torrita di Siena en el centro de la bella campiña de la Toscana italiana acogió este año la sexta edición del European Blues Challenge. Torrita es una pequeña localidad con una preciosa zona antigua de gran belleza arquitectónica que combina además unos idílicos paisajes, una excelente gastronomía y deliciosos vinos.

Como preludio del European Blues Challenge, la Asociación Cultural de Torrita Blues preparó para la noche del jueves la Gran Gala del Blues Italiano, una apetitosa cena de gala excelentemente servida por el Istituto Albergjiero Pellegrino Artusi di Chianchiano Terme amenizada por grandes músicos de la escena del blues italiano. La banda base de Nick Becattini supo estar en todo momento a la altura de las circunstancias acompañando con gran profesionalidad a todos cuantos músicos desfilaron por el escenario y que fueron. Luca Giordano, Maurizio Gnola, Mario Insenga, Tolo Marton, Marco Pandolfi, Fabrizzip Poggi, Genaro Porcelli, Angelo “Leadbelly” Rossi, Mike Sponza y Linda Valori & Maurizio Pugno. Particularmente disfruté con el elegante trabajo de Luca Giordano a la guitarra, así como con el sentido homenaje que Gennaro Porcelli tributó a Johnny Winter y muy especialmente con la autenticidad de Angelo “Leadbelly” Rossi en un magnífico tributo al delta blues y a Howlin’ Wolf. Un excelente inicio en el que tuvimos la ocasión de conocer mejor el gran nivel del panorama del blues italiano.


Algunos de los artistas italianos participantes en la "Gran Gala del Blues"

Debo decir que este año me ha sorprendido el nivel de todos los grupos participantes. Todos ellos con sus diferentes enfoques han sorprendido por su calidad y su buen hacer en el escenario. Desde aquí mi felicitación a cada uno de los contendientes.

Después de degustar una apetitosa cena, la jornada del viernes comienza con puntualidad. Debo decir que el Palazzetto dello Sport no era el lugar más adecuado en cuanto a sonoridad se refiere para un evento de estas características y también resultó algo incómodo para los jueces que dispusieron de un mínimo y poco iluminado espacio para realizar su trabajo. También en algunos momentos las luces del escenario y el abuso del efecto humo entorpecieron la labor de fotógrafos y cámaras. En este mismo recinto y el la parte superior se instaló la exposición itinerante Blues Expo que recoge documentación y fotografias cedidas por diversos fotógrafos sobre anteriores Challenges. La ubicación de la expo no fue la mas adecuada, ya que muchisimo público no fue consciente de la existencia de esta exposición y no pudieron visitarla.

El evento estuvo presentado por Veronica Sbergia quien demostró una gran habilidad para la improvisación en los momentos de impasse y supo alternar el inglés y el italiano. Gracia y simpatía a partes iguales hicieron que sus presentaciones fueran amenas a pesar de que en algunos momentos pudieran parecer algo largas.

Ciñéndonos a los grupos participantes en la primera jornada, abren el fuego los polacos BLUES JUNKERS que sorprenden por su interpretación bastante clásica bien conducidos por una entregada cantante y unos buenos instrumentistas la la guitarra, piano/armónica, y bateria. Una excelente forma de empezar la noche.

Desde Bulgaria BLUESTREAM basan su actuación en el blues más eléctrico gracias al virtuosismo de su guitarrista y cantante Miroslav Naydenov que confirma una depurada técnica.


Blues Junkers (Polonia)                                                                                                                    Bluestream (Bulgaria)


Últimamente Reino Unido se caracteriza por una gran proliferación de guitarristas de power blues. Este es el caso de la banda que les representa este año, RED BUTLER. La poderosa voz de su cantante se alterna con los electrizantes solos de rock blues con recursos cara a la galeróa como tocar la guitarra a cuatro manos a cargo del bajista y el joven guitarrista del grupo.


Red Butler (Reino Unido)


No es habitual y menos en una actuación de veinte minutos que un grupo empiece su set con una balada. Asó lo hicieron los representantes de Estonia TANEL PADAR BLUES BAND. Tanel posee una muy buena voz que destaca a lo largo de un repertorio bien escogido en el que no faltan algunas versiones de clásicos.


Tanel Padar Blues Band (Estonia)

Los franceses GAS BLUES BAND demuestran estar bien conjuntados para dar realce a la profunda voz de su cantante Gaspar “Gas” Ossikian, que llama especialmente la atención, a lo largo de un repertorio muy correcto.


Gas Blues Band (Francia)

Eslovaquia presenta un grupo curioso, JURAJ SCHWEIGERT & THE GROOVE TIME donde la guitarra y el contrabajo dan soporte a un buen armonicista. Basados en el jump blues incorporan elementos mas jazzeros junto a algunos toques eslavos, lo que les da un aire diferente y original.


Juraj Schweigert & The Groove Timr (Eslovaquia)

Una muy agradable sorpresa es la del trío danés, CHRISTIAN BUNDGAARD TRIO, formado por piano acústico, tuba y batería. Demuestran buen conocimiento del género, especialmente su pianista, cantante y lider de la banda Christian Bundagaar en un repertorio compuesto de clásicos alternados con buenos boogies. Sin duda una buena formación a tener en cuenta.


Christian Bundgaard Trio (Dinamarca)

Los húngaros MOJO WORKING son otra de las revelaciones de la noche no sólo por sus cualidades musicales sino por la originalidad de su presentación, el dominio de todo tipo de armónicas diferentes y el "biddle bow" a modo de lap steel guitar, además de un muy buen respaldo de un guitarrista muy rural. Convincentes sobre todo por su presentación escénica nos dejan un muy buen sabor de boca.


Mojo Working (Hungria)

JOHNNY FONTANE & THE RIVALS representan a Suiza. Practican una mezcla de blues de Chicago con toques funk y poderoso blues rock bastante actual. Un repertorio bien escogido donde destaca el trabajo de Phulipp Lüdi al órgano y los buenos solos de guitarra a cargo de Rom Marcozzi.


Johnny Fontane & The Rivals

A priori una de las consideradas mejores bandas del certamen, los suecos IDA BANG & THE BLUE TEARS demostraron su enorme calidad. Músicos muy jóvenes pero todos ellos muy experimentados, se movieron con soltura entre el Chicago y el West Coast destacando el buen trabajo tanto de su vocalista Ida Bang como de los dos guitarristas Leo Henriksson y John Bernström. No defraudaron en absoluto y con ellos el futuro del blues está asegurado.
 

                                                                                           


Ida Bang & The Blue Tears (Suecia)

Para finalizar la primera noche, Latvia nos presentó a JOHNNY B BEAST, un músico que nos deleitó con su blues profundo, lento, arrastrado, sugerente  y lleno de belleza y autenticidad. Su voz grave y rota, su slide o su cigar box construida con un tablero de ajedrez nos transportan al blues mas auténtico y nos dejan un gran sabor de boca. Un excelente show para finalizar una más que interesante primera noche de la competición.


Johnny B. Beast (Latvia)



La jornada del sábado se inicia con la Asamblea General de la European Blues Union y de una exhibición folklórica de los abanderados medievales en el casco antiguo de Torrita di Siena. Al finalizar y tras degustar una buena comida, nos dirigimos al Blues Market que, como cada año reúne a representantes de compañías discográficas, revistas, asociaciones, festivales, artistas, manager y aficionados al blues en general. Es el momento de intercambiar contactos, opiniones, información a la vez que degustar algunas “delicatessen” traídas desde diversos países europeos.

Casi sin darnos cuenta y después de una deliciosa cena estamos ya afrontando la segunda noche del European Blues Challenge.
 

Siempre es difícil abrir una competición. Desde Bélgica TINY LEGS TIM es el encargado de hacerlo. Basado en artistas legendarios como Son House, Tiny incorpora un estilo personal que le hace diferente y original, mostrando también su gran calidad, bien respaldado en esta ocasión, por la armónica de Steven Troch. Una actuación muy elegante e interesante para empezar la noche.

 

Tiny Legs Tim (Belgium)

 

No es frecuente encontrar a una mujer bajista, cantante y líder de la banda. LENA & THE SLIDE BROTHERS representan a Finlandia y nos ofrecen un repertorio variado y energético donde destaca la fuerza vocal de Lena, siempre bien acompañada por unos músicos muy eficientes.


Lena & The Slide Brothers (Finland)

Austria nos sorprende con una presentación insólita que se sale de lo que estamos acostumbrados en un artista de blues. ULRICH ELLISON & TRIBE inician su show con una sorprendente versión de “Over The Rainbow”. A partir de ahí se mueven entre el blues con influencias de la música de los 70, lo que les hace diferentes de otros grupos de similares características. Una buena puesta en escena y un innegable calidad musical, con el soporte de su hermana Sabine Ellison al bajo y Joel Duhon a la batería.

 

Ulrich Ellison & Tribe (Austria)


Otra de las mejores formaciones de la noche son sin duda los italianos PAUL VENTURI & THE JUNKERS. Banda semiacústica donde destaca el conocimiento del género de su pianista Alberto Bazzoli que sorprende muy gratamente, sin olvidar al los otros dos componentes, Paul Venturi a la voz y gutarra y Roberto Villa al contrabajo. Suenan diferentes, con gran originalidad y un repertorio tremendamente clásico en el que no falta un sentido homenaje a Little Brother Montgomery.


Paul Venturi & The Junkers (Italia)

Otro de los platos fuertes de la noche son los noruegos ERIC “SLIM” ZAHL & THE SOUTHWEST SWINGERS. Su presencia, habilidad intepretativa y comunicación en el escenario impactan muy favorablemente en la audiencia con una poderosa interpretación que se mueve entre el rhythm & blues, el blues con toques de rock & roll, para lucimiento de su pianista Oystem Undem que se atreve con un buen boogie-woogie.

 


Eric "Slim" Zahl & The Southwest Swingers

 

No puedo ser objetiva con los representantes españoles WAX & BOOGIE RHYTHM COMBO. En mi opinión realizan una actuación electrizante, llena de poderío en la que la enorme y a veces desgarrada voz de Ster conecta inmediatamente con el público que, durante todo el evento, se ha mostrado bastante frio consiguiendo levantarlos y hacerlos corear y bailar sus temas. Puro blues, boogie y rhythm & blues donde todos los músicos rayan a gran altura en una interpretación soberbia que quizás se ha visto algo desmerecida por la sonorización del piano y por unos acoples en la voz de Ster. Aunque era difícil volver a ganar, se merecían haber conseguido un lugar entre los tres primeros clasificados.


Wax & Boogie Rhythm Combo (España)


Portugal participa por primera vez en el European Blues Challenge. Como su nombre indica BUDDA POWER BLUES ofrecen un blues de alto voltaje, especialmente gracias a la sorprendente e intensa voz de su cantante y líder de la banda Budda Guedes, destacando su interpretación del conocido “Rollin’ and Tumblin”.


Budda Power Blues (Portugal)

WELLBAD vienen desde Alemania y son un grupo completamente diferente a lo que estamos acostumbrados debe ser un grupo de blues. A medio camino entre el blues y el rock, la personalidad y la forma interpretativa de su cantante Daniel Welbat no deja a nadie indiferente aunque personalmente su estilo no consigue interesarme demasiado.


WellBad (Alemania)

PHIL’S BEE FREEDOM representan a Holanda. Un grupo interesante que combina juventud y experiencia donde destaca el buen trabajo y la elegancia de su joven guitarrista Guy Smeets que realiza un trabajo fantástico. Desgraciadamente la banda no pudo contar con algunos de sus miembros por causas de fuerza mayor y su cantante Phil Bee tuvo que actuar con una lesión en su pierna, pero a pesar de todo su set fue muy gratificante y se hizo corto.

Phil's Bee Freedom (Holanda)

Desde Croacia ZAMBA fueron los encargados de cerrar la competición. Se movieron con soltura en el rock blues setentero con grandes influencias de Gary Moore o incluso el Eric Clapton de los Cream, que agradaron por su buen hacer especialmente gracias a la fuerza vocal de su cantante, guitarrista y líder de la banda. Una buena forma de acabar una competición de alto nivel cualitativo que estoy segura hizo muy difícil la labor de los jueces encargados de seleccionar al ganador del European Blues Challenge.

Mientras se procedía al recuento de los votos emitidos por el jurado, se entregaron los BLUES BEHIND THE SCENES AWARDS, premios que reconocen el trabajo en el blues de toda una vida, gente que normalmente no es conocida por el gran público pero que realizan una gran labor “detrás del escenario” a favor del blues. Este año los premiados han sido:

En la categoria Media: ANDRZEJ MATYSIK. Twój Blues Magazine. Polonia

En la categoría Promotion: MIIKKA PORKKA, director del Puistoblues Festival. Finlandia

En la categoría Production: HANNES ANRIG. Blueshouse Productions. Suiza

Como coordinadora de estos premios, mi más sincera felicitación a los ganadores que, sin duda, merecen este reconocimiento por su constante y gran labor en la sombra en el mundo del blues.
 

Finalmente Tom Ruf, presidente de la European Blues Union desvela el resultado de la 6ª edición de European Blues Challenge:

En tercer lugar: WellBad (Alemania)

En segundo lugar: Phil Bee’s Freedom (Holanda)


WellBad (Alemania)                                                                Phil's Bee Freedom (Holanda)

En primer lugar y ganadores del 6º European Blues Challenge:
ERIC “SLIM” ZAHL & THE SOUTH WEST SINGERS (Noruega)


Eric "Slim" Zahla & The Southwest Singers (Noruega)

Felicidades a los ganadores y a todos los participantes!! Todos ellos han demostrado una gran profesionalidad, calidad, entrega y nos han hecho vibrar con su música pero desgraciadamente sólo puede haber un ganador.

Eric “Slim” Zahl & The Southwest Singers, como flamantes ganadores del EBC participarán en los siguientes festivales:

    15 Julio. Festival de Blues de Hondarribia - España
    16 Julio, Blues Peer - Belgica
    4 Agosto. Notodden Blues Festival - Noruega
    13 Agosto. Rauma Blues - Finlandia
    21 Agosto. Swing Wespelaar Festival - Belgica
    3 Septiembre. Blues in Hell - Noruega
    5 Noviembre. Frederikshavn Blues Festival- Dinamarca
    Mediados Noviembre. Lucerne Blues Festival - Suiza

Además tendrán pagada una sesión de 12 horas de grabación en los prestigiosos estudios Juke Joint Studios de Notodden (Noruega).

Hemos vivido tres intensos días de blues pero también hemos disfrutado de la compañía de todos cuantos han venido de todos los rincones de Europa a compartir el interés y la afición por este género que nos apasiona y que es el BLUES.

Esperamos ya impacientes la próxima edición que tendrá lugar los días 6, 7 y 8 de abril de 2017 en Horsens (Dinamarca)
 

Texto y Fotos. Roser Blues

 

 

 

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PRESENTACION GRUPOS PARTICIPANTES EN EL EUROPEAN BLUES CHALLENGE 2016
Viernes 8 y Sábado 9 Abril.
Indoor Sport Stadium, Piazza Giovanni Falcone, Torrita di Siena (Italia).

Incluímos una pequeña presentación de los musicos o grupos que participarán representando a sus respectivos paises en el próximo European Blues Challenge que se celebrará en el Indoor Sport Stadium situado en la Piazza Giovanni Falcone de Torrita di Siena durante los días 8 y 9 de abril de 2016. Un acontecimiento único que permite conocer a bandas de blues de toda Europa compitiendo y mostrando lo mejor del blues europeo.
 

Austria (AT): Ulrich Ellison & Tribe

Born in Austria and now residing in Austin TX, guitarist Ulrich Ellison has quite a story to tell. A high-caliber guitarist, Ellison can easily switch from lightning fast modal runs to swamp-soaked blues and singing leads that make his guitar talk. His avid song writing ranges from southern-rock inspired songs, modern blues, Led Zeppelin type arena rock to enchanting instrumentals. His soul mate and wife Sabine Ellison on bass adds a huge, fat foundation that perfectly locks in with Texas groove veteran Joel Duhon on drums. Named #1 "Blues/Soul/Funk Act" at the 2015 Austin Music Awards, Ulrich Ellison and his Tribe have been playing nearly every major Austin venue as well as clubs and festivals in the US and EU.
Ulrich Ellison – guitar, vocals
Sabine Ellison - bass, vocals
Joel Duhon - drums, vocals
www.ulrichellison.com

 

Belgium (BE): Tiny Legs Tim 

In 2008, Tiny Legs Tim (TLT) hit the scene with his granddad’s acoustic guitar and original songs based on his personal voyage. This year, he won Belgium’s nomination for the 2016 EBC as a four-piece band with a tight electric set taken from his entirely self-written third album.
Initially inspired by the black acoustic masters such as Son House, TLT quickly developed his own, most melodic song-writing as is proved by all his releases so far. Surely, it’s those idiosyncratic lyrics that definitely set him apart. They are inspired as by a six years’ fight for his life and its aftermath, as in ‘Cortisone Blues’ or ‘Please Dr., Please’. 
Finally, his distinctive voice adds rising and falling intonations to the lyrics, as well as irony and relativity. For all his suffering as a young man, TLT is an energetic messenger of joy and hope.
Whether produced as a one-man band or the electric band plugged in outfit, his energy is alternated by a continuous base-line and melody, both in the slide and the finger-setting.
Tiny Legs Tim, guitar & vocals
Steven Troch: harmonica
René Stock, double bass
Frederik Van den Berghe, drums
http://www.tinylegstim.com


Bulgaria (BG): Bluestream

Bluestream is a blues band formed in Bulgaria during early 2014. The band is located in Sofia and has already performed successfully at the local club venues, including some local festivals. The band performs mostly own songs, author of both music and lyrics is the guitar player and vocalist Miroslav (Miro) Naydenov. The musicians of Bluestream have experience in local bands and bands abroad and came together to play their own music in blues, jazz-blues, funky-blues, modern blues style. The vocalist and guitar player Miro has rich experience at the blues-jazz stages in Hungary, playing festivals there (including Gastroblues), Romania and Bulgaria with his former Hungarian band, “Breaking Blues”. The drummer Nikolay Bakalov has played In Bulgarian blues & jazz formations and has been a part of some Dutch projects. All members are Bulgarian citizens and currently reside in Bulgaria.
Miroslav Naydenov -guitars, vocals
Ventsi Pavlov -bass guitars
Nikolay Bakalov -drums
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z40mbQuWW9A
 

Croatia (CR): Zamba

The band Zamba was founded 2010. Throughout the years their repertoire has moved from blues to rock and then back to blues. After a few years of playing covers, the band now has material of its own, written entirely by Boris Dugi-Novacki Zamba. The album "Home" with 13 original songs (Spona, 2015) earned the finest reviews and is an important turning point for the band. The first place at the 5th Croatian Blues Challenge was a reward for years of dedication to blues. In 2014 Zamba performed at the 30th International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Their love for the blues music is the primary motivation that keeps the musical quality and energy of the band at the highest level. They enjoy performing and try to transfer that enjoyment to their audience.
Boris Dugi-Novacki Zamba – vocal & guitar
Tomislav Biscan – guitar, back vocal
Dragan Kokanovic - bass guitar
Mario Klaric - drums
Aleksandar Baic – keyboards, back vocal

 

Denmark (DK): Christian Bundgaard Trio

Blues, jazz. boogie woogie… all with an inspirational touch of the New Orleans music culture. This is the music that the young piano player from Denmark, Christian Bundgaard likes to play and perform. Christian was born in 1994 but he grew up on music from Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Dr. John, Otis Spann, BB King… etc. Later on, the music was studied and heard countless times.
Although Denmark is far from the land where the blues was born, the blues environment in Denmark is fantastic and open to all. Today, Christian tries to build a larger music career while also trying to make the blues more visible to young people of his own age.
Christian Bundgaard (piano, vocal, guitar, harp)
Nicals Nielsen (drums)
Paul Jr (bass)



Estonia (EE): Tanel Padar Blues Band

Singer, guitar player and songwriter Tanel Padar is the most notorious figure in the Estonian music scene. He has won every possible award and has participated in almost every noteworthy Estonian popular musical event over the last 15 years.  In 2001 Tanel Padar won the Eurovision Song Contest together with Dave Benton.
Tanel Padar Blues Band was born in 2012 as one-time-old-friends-project, but soon enough evolved into a stable band. The band’s keyboard player Ülo Krigul is one of the most acclaimed young classical composers of Estonia, the guitar player Raul Ukareda is the most acclaimed blues guitarist of the country and organizer of the Augustibluus festival, the bass player Argo Toomel is one of Estonia’s most sought-after roots bass players, and drummer Petteri Hasa is an acclaimed Finnish jazz multi-instrumentalist and big band leader. 
The band is a frequent headliner of local festivals and plays constantly in clubs in Estonia as well as in Finland. 
Tanel Padar – vocals
Raul Ukareda – guitar
Ülo Krigul – keyboards
Argo Toomel – bass
Petteri Hasa – drums
 

Finland (FI):
Lena & The Slide Brothers

Lena & The Slide Brothers was formed in 2009 in Helsinki, Finland. The band has played at several Finnish blues and roots music festivals as well as in clubs all over the country. They have published two CDs: ”Turn It On” (2010) and ”Shine Your Light” (2013), and their third album will be out on 8th April 2016.
Lena Lindroos, vocals, bass
Matti Kettunen, guitars, backing vocals
Ykä Putkinen, guitars, backing vocals
Juha Litmanen, drums
www.lenatheslidebrothers.com


France (FR): Gas Blues Band

Since created by Gaspard "GAS" Ossikian, guitar and vocals, Since created by Gaspard "GAS" Ossikian (guitar and vocals), the Gas Blues Band has performed on many national and international stages during the past five years. This is not just one more Blues Band, it is also the "backing band" of many African-American artists from Chicago, Canada, Texas... artists such as Donald Ray Johnson, Toronzo Cannon, Lawrence Gladney Shy, Maurice John Vaughn, Linsey Alexander... Having a solid stage presence, whether under their own name or as accompanying unit, the Gas Blues Band is always on fire. They had a CD called "Troubled Watters" with 10 tracks released in June 2013. One can feel their implications for the Blues and its derivatives like "Funk", "Jazz", and with a hint of "Texas sound"! Their musical style is like "Jimi Hendrix" met "Muddy Waters" and "ZZ Top" met the "Funky Music"! A true musical identity in the world of Blues, a pure desire to play and to share their good mood, here is the Gas Blues Band: Let the Good Times Roll!!
Gaspard "GAS" Ossikian, guitar, vocals
Pierre "Little Peter" Cayla, guitar
Philippe "Pompon" Scemama, bass



Germany (DE): WellBad

WellBad plays Blues for people who didn't even know that they like Blues music! The young German Blues band convinces their audience with their authentic, impulsive sound! It's stomping and sentimental at the same time! The 26 year old singer and songwriter Daniel Welbat fascinates with his whisky-drenched, "stonewashed" voice and his half acoustic/half electrified powerful band of five.
Daniel Welbat - Vocals / Acoustic Guitar
Lennard Eggers - Lead Guitar
Simon Andresen - Keyboards/Organ
Stefan Reich - Doublebass/ E-Bass
Sebastian Meyer - Drums/Percussion


Hungary (HU): Mojo Workings

After about a year of playing together informally, Mojo Workings finally solidified and established in 2011. With members coming from three different musical backgrounds and taste the result is a unique blend of traditional blues, country, pop and beat. By utilizing harmony vocals and uncommon instruments such as the didley-bow, stompbox, harmonetta, bass harmonica in many of their arrangements, the musicians push the limits of the regular trio, making their sound ever more multi-hued and vibrant. They take full advantage of the dynamic possibilities offered by a live musical performance to make each and every gig a unique experience with new original songs or interesting interpretations of covers. Following up their debut album “Back In The Day”, they have completed their second disc “Long Step” in March 2015.
Tamás Szabó: vocal, harmonicas, harmonetta, bass harmonica
Imre Olivér Honfi: vocal, electric guitar, diddley-bow
János Horváth: vocal, acoustic guitar
Csaba Pengő: upright bass
István Mezőfi: drums

Italy (IT): Paul Venturi & The Junkers

Paul Venturi has been considered for years as one of the main exponents of the Blues in Italy. He has participated in most of the major national and international festivals along his career, such as the "New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival", sharing the stages with such great musicians like Carey Bell, Billy Branch and Ana Popovic. In 2014 he founded "The Junkers", with the fantastic Roberto Villa on double bass and Alberto Bazzoli on piano. Despite their youth, the trio has already got the favour both of the audiences and the media acclaim and will, consequently, represent Italy at the European Blues Challenge 2016.
Paul Venturi, guitar, vocals
Roberto Villa, double bass
Alberto Bazzoli, piano
 

Latvia (LV): Johnny B. Beast

“Johnny B Beast” is the stage name of Janis Zvērs (born1986), a TV journalist and Latvian acoustic blues guitarist. His solo career started in 2012. Since high school he played guitar in several locally famous metal and hardcore bands, toured Europe and even Mexico, but slide-blues has always been his passion since childhood. The idea of a solo blues act was strongly considered for many years. Artists like Blind Willie Johnson, Bob Brozman, Brother Dedge, Daniel Bachman and Seasick Steve influenced his musical choice.
Johnny B Beast plays fingerstyle in open tuning guitar, using guitar also as a percussion instrument, playing strings with slide, sometimes also with hip flask or shot glass. Groovy rhyme, melodic, sometimes naive licks and "southern blues" vibe characterizes his music. Johnny has placed some nice videos on youtube, and video for song "Zhiga" became viral, gaining more than 20 000 views in a month!
Since 2013 Johnny B. Beast has played hundreds of gigs, including almost all local outdoor festivals and music clubs in Latvia as well as internationally acknowledged festivals like Suwalki Blues (Poland), Sigulda Castle Blues, Origo Blues and Baltic Blues Brotherhood (Latvia), Emajoe Blues (Estonia). He shared the stage with top local blues acts, as well as Cedric Burnside, Raphael Wressnig to name a few. He is always looking forward for new adventures, gigs and voyages, to transform his experience in new songs. Recently he released his first album “Wildboars & Trains”, including a song dedicated to the wild boars pride attempting to settle in the subway of Riga, the Capital of Latvia.
www.facebook.com/beastlv  
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-FsnujY8eBL5JiR6C-m2qg  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziQXfUStSEw

 

Netherlands (NL): Phil Bee’s Freedom

They were winners of the Dutch Blues Challenge 2015. The jury was unanimous, saying, "Outstanding skills, repertoire and stage presence". This eight piece sensational band excites the crowds with original blues tunes, mixing jazz and soul grooves, played by the finest musicians around. Imagine a 1960-70’s Hammond and Rhodes, tight groovy rhythm section, two amazing lead guitarists, sultry background singers, topped by Phil Bee’s blue eyed soul vocals. Show stopping quality that will hit you like a freight train.
Phil Bee, vocals
Berland Rours, guitar
Guy Smeets, guitar
Pascal Lanslots, keyboard and hammond
Marcus Weymaere, drums
Carlo van Belleghem, bass
Esther van Cleef, backing vocals
Marlou Wijnen-Obers, backing vocals
www.pbfreedom.com
 

Norway (NO): Eric “Slim” Zahl & The South West Swingers

The band's ambition is to continue the fine traditions and perform music influenced by the sounds from the 50's - in their own and more rockin' style. Dressed up with a tie, suspenders and shiny shoes, Eric Slim Zahl & The Southwest Swingers perform their music with humor, musical skill and impact. Since the band started in 2006 they have logged an impressive amount of club gigs and festival appearances in Norway and England and they are well known to be a fun live band.
Eric Slim Zahl & the South West Swingers write their own music and released their debut album "Daddy'O" in 2011. The album was nominated for a Norwegian Grammy in the Best Blues Album Category. In 2013 the sequel, "Chances Are Slim" was released. Also this album received very good reviews in the press.
Eric Slim Zahl – vocals/guitar
Oystein Undem – keyboards (piano and Hammond)
Roald Brekke – vocals/guitar
Atle Helland Strom – drums
http://www.ezmusic.no/
https://www.facebook.com/ezmusicofficial
https://www.facebook.com/ezmusicofficial
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtVKuAGeQ7Q
 

Poland: (PO): Blues Junkers

The band Blues Junkers (the name refers to Champion Jack Dupree’s song called “Junker Blues”) was established in Warsaw in December 2014 by a married couple, Natalia and Dominik Abłamowicz. The band’s name aims to express strong addiction of its members to the old American music, namely blues, rhythm ’n’ blues, boogie-woogie and soul. The band is a small combo without a bass player. What’s more, instead of a full drum kit, the band has just a snare drum. Blues Junker’s goal is to obtain a unique sound based on the old archaic barrelhouse piano combined with more modern but still classic blues guitar in the style of masters like B.B. and Freddie King. The band’s main idea is to obtain a fresh sound combining the sound of the 40’s and the 60’s. Of course, the most important member of the band is the singer, Natalia, whose voice and phrasing is in the style of the best blues singers such as Katie Webster, Etta James and Ruth Brown.
Natalia Abłamowicz – vocal,  kazoo,
Dominik Abłamowicz - piano, harp
Maciek Sych - guitar
Grzegorz Zawiliński – drums.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blues-Junkers/550754445023010
 

Portugal: Budda Power Blues

Budda Power Blues are a Portuguese Power Trio that plays the Blues from the gut. They deliver a punchy powerful, soulful, electric blues that makes you want to jump and shout. But they don’t do it on their own! The audience is always their 4th member, making every show a celebration of blues and life itself. A rambling bass, power drums, overdriven guitar and soulful vocals makes Budda Power Blues one of a kind. But don’t be mistaken: they can also be gentle and the dynamics may vary from a soaring thunder to gentle whisper! Some of their most Iconic moments are: They met and played with Shirley King, BB King’s daughter, in Lisbon and they fell in love with each other. Budda Power Blues were immediately invited to be the back up band of all Shirley’s European shows. Other highlights are the participation on Cotai Jazz and Blues in Macau (Asia) where they were selected from a pool of more than 200 bands worldwide. They have also done several shows in the "Blues Garage" in Germany and were two times headliners of "Blues Express" in Luxembourg. The band has also played in all of Portugal best Blues Fests like BB Blues Fest, Santa Maria Blues, Gaia Blues, Seia Jazz and Blues and Lisbon Blues Fest. With five records already during a 10-year life spans, Budda Power Blues are preparing two more records for 2016 with the participation of some very special guests.
Budda Guedes, vocals, guitar.
Pedro Ferreira, bass
Nico Guedes, drums
 

Slovakia (SK): Juraj Schweigert & The Groove Time

The band started as a west coast and jump blues band in 2011. Since the very start, it has been incorporating jazzy elements and Juraj’s unorthodox harmonica playing set the band’s musical direction. In 2014, they were voted as the most popular blues band in Slovakia and awarded a prize for mature concept and individual performance by the Slovak Jazz Company at the New Faces of Slovak Jazz competition. The first album released in October 2015 features mostly original compositions and explores areas outside blues while still strongly maintaining its very essence as the cornerstone of the band’s music. Extraordinary harp playing, colourful guitar and a steady rhythm section of double bass and drums easily catch the listener’s ear.
Juraj Schweigert – harmonica, vocals
Zsolt Szitási – guitar
Martin Kapusník – double bass
Juraj Raši - drums
www.jurajschweigert.com
www.facebook.com/juraj.schweigert
 

Spain (ES): Wax & Boogie Rhythm Combo

Wax & Boogie Rhythm Combo get their inspiration from 30′s boogie woogie, 40′s swing and 50′s rhythm ‘n’ blues. The amazing singer of the band, Ster Wax, has a powerful voice inspired by some wonderful female artists such as Lavern Baker, Ruth Brown and Big Maybelle. On the piano, David ‘Boogie’ Giorcelli, is one of Europe’s most celebrated boogie woogie & blues pianist that has participated in many festivals in France, Switzerland and Poland. Reginald Vilardell is a very popular drummer in the Spanish blues scene. Oriol Fontanals on the upright bass is a young musician that has recently joined the band. And Toni Solà on the tenor sax adds his experience and swing to this rhythm and shakin' combo.  These five musicians on scene create a high voltage show by evoking the great masters of the blues & boogie as well as offering their own songs on their repertoire. To date they have recorded two albums:  ‘Lost in a Dream - Milano Blues Club Nights’ (2013), and ‘Everynight’ (2014).
Ster Wax: vocals
David Giorcelli: piano
Toni Solà: tenor sax
Oriol Fontanals: double bass
Reginald Vilardell: drums
www.waxandboogie.info
 

Sweden (SE): Ida Bang & The Blue Tears

Ida Bang & The Blue Tears is a young blues band from Stockholm, and they are called “the future in blues”. The band was formed in 2013, and in the last three years they have accomplished a lot; played shows at the biggest blues festivals around Sweden, released two acclaimed albums with own songs, and received great reviews. “A tight sound with charismatic musicians that pick the best out of the genre’s legacy, but also pave the way for a future development of the blues.” – They are winners of the 1st Swedish Blues Challenge 2015.
Ida Bang - vocals
Leo Henriksson - guitar
John Bernström - guitar
Patrik Engström - bass
Leo Sund – drums

 

Switzerland (CH):
Johnny Fontane & The Rivals

The band was formed in 2011 as “Blues Express” as the house band of the famous “Kulturfabrik Kopfmehl”. In 2014 they changed the name to “Johnny Fontane & The Rivals”. The line-up remained the same. They call their style ‘Mafia Blues Rock’ hence the name of the band, going back to the character with the same name in “The Godfather”. The style is a mixture of blues rock and Chicago blues with funky elements.
Tom Marcozzi, vocals, guitar
Phulipp Lüdi, piano, organ
Christian Spanhi, bass
Lukas Zürcher, drums

 

United Kingdom (UK): Red Butler

Performing a hand crafted mix of originals and intriguing covers, the band harnesses a raw, dynamic energy delivered with passion, feeling and creativity. The debut album “Freedom Bound”, which includes tracks reflecting life from a youthful perspective as well as historic influences, has attracted critical acclaim from the media and the public. Formed early 2012, this young award-winning band is at the forefront of the new United Kingdom blues scene. They have been building a good following and exciting audiences with their stunning ability and exhilarating stage act.
Alex Butler, lead guitar and backing vocals
Jane Pearce, lead vocals
Mike Topp, bass guitar and backing
Charlie Simpson, drums

 

The winner of the Blues Challenge will receive exposure in specialized blues media and get the opportunity to play at some of the major European blues festivals in 2016. At the moment we have the following confirmations:

·         Blues in Hell. Norway
Hondarribia Blues Festival, Spain
Frederikshavn Blues Festival, Denmark
 Lucerne Blues Festival, Switzerland
Notodden Blues Festival, Norway
Sierre Blues Festival, Switzerland
Skanevik Blues Festival, Norway
Swing Wespelaar, Belgium

This list is probably not a final one as we are still expecting some confirmations


BANDS PERFORMING ORDER

The EBC 2016 playing order has been determined in the last board meeting by raffle. It has resulted in the following order:

Friday (8/4/2016)

1.       Poland
2.       Bulgaria
3.       U.K.
4.       Estonia
5.       France
6.       Slovakia
7.       Denmark
8.       Hungary
9.       Switzerland
10.     Sweden
11.     Latvia
 

Saturday (9/4/2016)

1.       Belgium
2.       Finland
3.       Austria
4.       Italy
5.       Norway
6.       Spain
7.       Portugal
8.       Germany
9.       Netherlands
10.     Croatia

 

 

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6th EUROPEAN BLUES CHALLENGE IN TORRITA DI SIENA, THE BLUES MARKET & THE BBS AWARDS

Save the dates 7 - 9 April 2016!

  

Once again we are rotating the location of this magnificent annual cultural Blues event to a new, exiting environment. Torrita di Siena in the heart of Tuscany in Italy will offer you the added pleasure to admire ancient architecture, beautiful and relaxing scenery, delicious food and wines, a friendly atmosphere and, of course, lots of Blues.

Torrita di Siena is truly honored of having been chosen by the European Blues Union to host the 6th annual European Blues Challenge. The festivities will start already on Thursday 7th April with an informal dinner and music performed by some famous Italian blues musicians. The EBC competition which is organized jointly by Torrita Blues Festival in cooperation with Torrita township local authorities will take place during the evenings of Friday the 8th and Saturday the 9th at the local indoor Sports Stadium, which has been refurbished to host this special event.

You can find general information about Torrita di Siena at: www.comune.torrita.siena.it and www.torritablues.com/ebc2016.


HOW TO ARRIVE TO TORRITA DI SIENA

The main/closest airport will be Umbria International Airport “San Francesco d’Assisi” in Perugia about 70 km from Torrita di Siena – www.airport.umbria.it There will be a specific EBC welcome point at the airport and organized bus transportation to Torrita di Siena. Other airports that may be used are Florence and Rome from where special bus transportation will be organized on request. For all transportation issues please consult:

Letric Travel Tour Operator

(Torrita di Siena, Viale Mazzini, 23)

www.letric.it

e-mail: eublues2016@letric.it

Mobile +39 3483 153 935

Phone +39 0577 684 095

Fax +39 0577 684 122
 

SPECIAL EBC PRE-EVENT “GRAN GALA DEL BLUES”
with famous national Italian blues musicians and dinner will be held in the evening of Thursday 7th April.

Indoor Sports Stadium

Address: Piazza Giovanni Falcone Square. Torrita di Siena (Italy)

 

 

6th EUROPEAN BLUES CHALLENGE - EBC
with a total of 21 European blues bands will be held on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th April. Both of these events will take place at the Indoor Sport Stadium, Piazza Giovanni Falcone, Torrita di Siena.

 

 

 

EBC showcase - Please be there on time!

20:00: Poland: Blues Junkers
20:25: Bulgaria: Bluestream
20:50: United Kingdom: Red Butler
21:15: Estonia: Tanel Padar Blues Band
21:40: France: Gas Blues Band
22:05: Slovakia: Juraj Schweigert & The Groove Time
22:30: Denmark: Christian Bundgaard Trio
22:55: Hungary: Mojo Workings
23:20: Switzerland: Johnny Fontane & The Rivals
23:45: Sweden: Ida Bang & The Blue Tears
00:10: Latvia: Johnny B. Beast

Saturday 9th April

14:30 - 17:00: Blues Market exhibition and get-together. Location: Next door to the indoor Sports Stadium.

EBC showcase - Please be there on time!

20:00: Belgium: Tiny Legs Tim
20:25: Finland: Lena & The Slide Brothers
20:50: Austria: Ulrich Ellison & Tribe
21:15: Italy: Paul Venturi & The Junkers
21:40: Norway: Eric “Slim” Zahl & The South West Swingers
22:05: Spain: Wax & Boogie Rhythm Combo
22:30: Portugal: Budda Power Blues
22:55: Germany: WellBad*
23:20: Netherlands: Phil Bee’s Freedom
23:45: Croatia: Zamba
00:15: Announcement of the Blues Behind The Scenes Award winners
00:30: Announcement of the EBC winners
00:30 - 01:00: The winners on stage + jam

Prizes:

The prizes for the winning acts include performing at the following confirmed festivals:

·         Blues in Hell. Norway

·         Hondarribia Blues Festival, Spain

·         Frederikshavn Blues Festival, Denmark

·         Lucerne Blues Festival, Switzerland

·         Notodden Blues Festival, Norway

·         Sierre Blues Festival, Switzerland

·        Swing Wespelaar. Belgium

In addition, a half-day (4-hour) recording session at the Juke Joint Studio in Notodden, including the technician's fee and free use of studio backline and the legendary Audiotronix 501 mixing console (previously at Stax Studios in Memphis), a selection of unique microphones and analog processors – plus the sound wizardry of technician Njål Frode Lie. Here is a video from the Rival Sons Juke Joint Sessions.

The local organizer will organize, on request, the transfers from your accommodation to the EBC venue, the Blues Market and the General Assembly.
For any request please use this e-mail: eublues2016@letric.it

 

THE BLUES MARKET
will be held on Saturday 9th April between 14:30 - 17:00 right next to the Indoor Sport Stadium, Piazza Giovanni Falcone.

Exhibitors list (to be updated):

Mike Sponza
Swedish Blues Association
Il Blues
AZ Blues
Rootsway
Blues Made In Italy
Pordenone Blues Festival
France Blues
Francois Dujardin
Finnish Blues Society
Blues News
Puistoblues
Hokahey Productions
Dutch Blues Foundation
Italian Blues Union
La Hora Del Blues
Digital Blues
UK Blues Federation
Twoj Blues
La Clique production
Musictrain booking agency
Blues in Hell
Gastroblues
Suwałki Blues Festival
Baltic Blues
Rauma Blues
Campania Blues
Notodden Blues Festival
Crossroads Blues Association
Latvian Blues Appreciation Society


5th
EUROPEAN BLUES EXPO

The 5th European Blues Expo will be held during the three days, Thursday thru Saturday. The exhibition will highlight various events organized by the EBU like the European Blues Challenge, the Blues Market, and other cultural activities associated with today’s lively European Blues scene. There will be a photo exhibition by European photographers Pertti Nurmi (Finland), Alain Hiot (France), Sylvie Bosc (France), Roser Blues (Spain), SKAttomaTTO (Italy), Charlie Hussey (Ireland), Aigars Lapsa (Latvia), Morten Gjerde (Norway), Carme Barrera (Spain), Fred Delforge (France), Christophe Losberger (Switzerland), Jean-Michel Rock’n’Blues (France), Roald Jungård (Norway), Monika Mansell (UK), John Bull (UK), Claudia Murgese (Italy), Yann Charles (France) and Álex Rodríquez Cruz (Spain).
 

BLUES BEHIND THE SCENES AWARDS (BBS)

Last year the EBU initiated a new award scheme, the Blues Behind The Scenes Awards, to recognize European individuals or organizations that have worked actively and devoted their life, making significant contributions to advance and support the blues in Europe. People whose name is not that well-known to the general public but who have always been there “behind the scenes” working seriously and with commitment and enthusiasm to promote the blues in various aspects are potential candidates to receive this award.

Three BBSA categories have been established:

- Media (magazines, on-line media, photographers, radio, researchers, writers...)

- Promoter (clubs, events, festivals, venues...)

- Production (agents, labels, managers, producers, publishers…)
 

EBU Active Members have first had the opportunity to propose candidates for the Awards and the Board has thereafter selected the final recipients by internal vote. The Awards will be presented during a short ceremony at the end of the second night of the Blues Challenge, just before communicating the EBC winners.

 

 

 

ACCOMODATION
There are many hotels, B&B and agriturismo country houses close by Torrita di Siena, where you can relax in-between the blues festivities. We will organize, on request, transfers from your accommodation to the EBC, Blues Market and General Assembly venues. For different accommodation options you are kindly requested to visit the web page of our local organizer: www.letric.it, e-mail: eublues2016@letric.it. You can book your accommodation through them at prices starting from 20 euros/night.

 

Please remember that only by booking through LETRIC you will get:
Special blues fares - The best prices in the area.
Blues shuttle - Dedicated transportation between accommodation location and different venues.
Assistance - A dedicated English speaking person to help in all your needs.
EBC tickets.

Please consult LETRIC e-mail for any requests or queries: eublues2016@letric.it

 

 

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WAX & BOOGIE RHYTHM COMBO REPRESENTARAN A ESPAÑA EN EL VI EUROPEAN BLUES CHALLENGE
(Torrita di Siena, Italia. 8 y 9 Abril 2016)

Los músicos españoles participantes en la sexta edición del European Blues Challenge EBC y que han sido elegidos por votación de los miembros del Consejo de Asesores son WAX & BOOGIE RHYTHM COMBO.

Mucha suerte para los WAX & BOOGIE RHYTHM COMBO que serán los reprsentantes españoles en la próxima edición del European Blues Challenge en Torita di Siena (Italia) los días 8 y 9 de abril de 2016 en el recinto del Indoor Sport Stadium en la Piazza Giovanni Falcone de Torrita di Siena www.torritablues.com/ebc2016


Wax & Boogie Rhythm Combo se inspiran en el boogie woogie de los años 30, el swing de los 40 y el rhythm & blues de los 50. Su increíble cantante Ster Wax está dotada de una voz poderosa inspirada en algunas de las grandes cantantes como Lavern Baker, Ruth Brown, o Big Maybelle, mientras que David Giorcelli al piano está reconocido como uno de los mas relevantes pianistas de blues y boogie a nivel europeo habiendo participado en innumerables festivales en Francia, Suiza o Polonia. Reginald Vilardell es un batería muy popular en los circuitos del blues españól y el contrabajista Oriol Fontanals es un joven musico que se ha unido recientemente a la banda. Toni Solà al saxo tenor añade la experiencia y el swing a este combo.
En escena estos cinco musicos crean un show de alto voltaje evocando a los grandes maestros del blues y el boogie así como en interesantes temas propios. Hasta la fecha han grabado dos álbums y están trabajando en el tercero.
Ster Wax: voz
David Giorcelli: piano
Toni Solà: tenor sax
Oriol Fontanals: contrabajo
Reginald Vilardell: drums
www.waxandboogie.info 

WAX & BOOGIE RHYTHM COMBO WILL REPRESENT SPAIN AT THE VI EUROPEAN BLUES CHALLENGE
(Torrita di Siena, Italy. 8 , 9 April 2016)

The Spanish band which will participate at the 6th European Blues Challenge and have been elected by the votes of the Adviser Council are WAX & BOOGIE RHYTHM COMBO-

Good luck to WAX & BOOGIE RHYTHM COMBO which will represent Spain at the European Blues Challenge that will take place in Torrita di Siena at the Indoor Sport Stadium en la Piazza Giovanni Falcone de Torrita di Siena
www.torritablues.com/ebc2016 

Wax & Boogie Rhythm Combo, get their inspiration in 30′s boogie woogie, 40′s swing and 50′s rhythm ‘n’ blues. The amazing singer of the band, Ster Wax, has a powerful voice inspired by some wonderful female artists such as Lavern Baker, Ruth Brown and Big Maybelle, while on the piano, David ‘Boogie’ Giorcelli, is one of Europe’s most celebrated boogie woogie & blues pianist that has participated in many festivals in France, Switzerland and Poland. Reginald Vilardell is a very popular drummer in the Spanish blues scene and Oriol Fontanals on the upright bass is a young musician that has recently joined the band. And Toni Solà on the tenor sax adds his experience and swing to this rhythm and shakin' combo.
Those five musicians on scene create a high voltage show by evoking the great masters of the blues & boogie as well as offering their own songs on their repertoire. To date they have recorded two albums: ‘Lost in a Dream - Milano Blues Club Nights’ (2013), and ‘Everynight’ (2014).
Ster Wax: vocals
David Giorcelli: piano
Toni Solà: tenor sax
Oriol Fontanals: double bass
Reginald Vilardell: drums
www.waxandboogie.info
 

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INTERVIEW WITH TOMAS RUF, EUROPEAN BLUES UNION PRESIDENT
BY KASPARS ZAVILEISKIS

Firstly, on 11 to 12 April, 2014, Riga will become a place for "European Blues Challenge” competition which is rather an important event on European scale. Secondly, on 31 July, the president of European Blues Union Thomas Ruf arrived to Riga for one day, he also organizes the competition. Ruf is also the manager of one of the biggest European blues music record labels "Ruf Records”. Clearly, our conversation went on about (and around) the good new-old blues!


Tom Ruf- Foto by Kaspar Garda

"European Blues Challenge” will be held in Riga, in 2014. How did you reached the idea of organizing the event in Latvia?

2014 is a great year for Riga, many cultural events will take place in there focused towards Europe. We have found good promotion partners in Riga, they will help "European Blues Challenge” to happen the best possible way.

You are the president of European Blues Union. What is your daily work routine?

I call myself the main European Blues Union mule who pulls all the weight himself. It's a voluntary work, bringing the good work to community.

So, you're the best candidate who could tell more about "European Blues Challenge”!

We started three years ago with the idea to support European blues artists and new talents. Currently, American artists dominate in this genre, so we try to promote Europeans. For instance, Latvian blues band might find it hard to organize a gig in France, Norway or France, but for Americans it's pretty easy. We try to take down the borders in people's minds in order to make the music market broader.

The strongest argument must be that the origin of blues is in America.


Tom Ruf- Foto by Kaspar Garda

It is the strongest argument - only American blues can be considered authentic. At the same time we want to tell people that European blues is a new form of blues, no less important. We don't have to hide as it was some second class.

How deep is the stereotype that black blues musicians are better than the white ones? We are not speaking about racism, but the attitude itself towards blues genre.

(Hiding under his shirt.) It had to end a long ago! In 1970ies, Muddy Waters turned his head when he was asked about the same issue. White musicians also played in his band. Muddy Waters supported "The Rolling Stones”. This stereotype should be striked out from people's minds.


Tom Ruf- Foto by Kaspar Garda

No doubt, it will happen some day. In the end, blues music is when a good man feels sadness.

Yes, that is blues. Everyone may experience hard times. It's emotions.

Let's continue about "European Blues Challenge”.

So, it will be the fourth event in Riga. First two were held in Berlin, Germany, the third one in France, now it's time for Latvia. We have 20 member countries, every member organizes the national competition, and the winner goes to "European Blues Challenge”. Those are great 20 bands from 20 countries.

The concept looks similar to „Eurovision” song contest. Maybe you should call it "Bluesovision”?

"Bluesovision”! What a name!!

Normunds Kalniņš, the chairman of the board of Latvian Blues Society Support (also a member of EBU) and organizer of Sigulda Blues Fest, joins the conversation. Besides, the affinity might be that "European Blues Challenge” will be webcasted online. And in this case, we are talking about show business, not only musical skills.

T.R. We have four criterions when judging the bands: vocal talent, instrumental talent, ability to represent themselves on a stage and originality. The latter mostly is related to musical material if the band performs only covers or has their own pieces. So, we decide if those songs are good, if every piece is composed by one pattern, if musicians are able to vary within their style.


Normunds Kalnins & Tom Ruf- Foto by Kaspar Garda

What are the musical borders that are defined at the competition? Do musicians cover blues rock, blues folk, blues-something?

Blues rock, blues jazz, pretty much everything they like. But music has to be based on blues roots.

What about blues dubstep?

Blues dubstep! Everyone is invited to create something new, that would be original.

Actually, I have heard blues dubstep, it was classic piano blues with a rumbling, roaring electronica basics. Such kind of experiments are allowed at "European Blues Challenge”, or you prefer so called "live” bands?

We had one French band, they played together with DJ mixing hiphop and blues. The band is called "Scarecrow”. They performed with guitars, drums, vocals, vinyl player or turntable... Everything is possible.

It's a nice message to new talents, blues is not only for old people!

Yes, exactly. Blues is not only for old people or slow dance. It's a whole genre with lots of vitality, energy and experiments.
I think blues is very popular in various generations and social groups because emotions dominate. It's not about the fact that you play your guitar fast enough or can perform a complicated song. It's emotions on the stage that matters.

How did you came down to blues and decided to start "Ruf Records”?


I don't think I chose blues. It chose me. It happens that way. As a teenager, I worked some social work, we organized gigs with a youth club. One of the first musicians I met was a bluesman from Chicago, Luther Allison. I left my hometown and went on a tour with them. I learned a lot, and that's how I got into music business.

Can you consider blues record lable a real business? Can you make money from it?

We started in 1994 with the records of Luther Allison. I continued to work with American and British artists. We have only few European musicians. In that form it works out.

Still, you follow the same stereotypes you named before!

I don't deny it. The record label works around the world, so it's hard to offer European musicians in a world market. But I managed to do that. For instance, Ana Popovic, a girl from Serbia who broke out in USA. I also work with Finnish and Austrian girls, but it's realy hard from a business perspective.

As a record label, you release CDs/vinyl or prefer the digital way?

Both. We sign a contract with the artist, produce the music and then sell it any possible form.

Which records are sold the best?

The digital side continues to grow, but our main listeners are middle-aged people who prefer a physical record format. They are record collectors. Digital record sales are only 20 percent. 10 percent are record sales at the concert venues, but the rest is CDs and vinyl at the music retailers.

It has come in fashion to record in vinyls, but it's often just a form without a content. Digital records are released in vinyl, therefore the idea of vinyl saving better quality of some analogue record dissapears. What studios do you use for your artists?

I personally prefer vinyl, but sometimes we are not able to use analogue master copies. Still, analogue records are being made, and there are studios where you can do that.


Tom Ruf- Foto by Kaspar Garda

We have our local rockabilly king Pits Andersons, he just recorded his album in the analogue studio, in Berlin, and will release a vinyl single. It seems that analogue records suit rockabilly genre the most.

I definitely want to know which studio he used. Maybe I can take it for my artists. If it is good for rockabilly, maybe it would suit for blues!

We will find that out and send the name to you. Who is the blues king at your company?

It's hard to name one. Because someone might get offended. But there is a band who uses the king's crown in their image with reason. I am together with them on a tour and I only came to Riga for one day in order to see the places we could organize "European Blues Challenge”. The band is called "Royal Southern Brotherhood” where literally royal blues family members have united. One family is "The Allman Brothers” and the other is "The Neville Brothers” from Georgia and New Orleans, Louisiana respectively. Gregg Allman's son Devon Allman and the youngest Neville's brother Cyril Neville are in this band.

It's realy royal!

Yes, a real royal court of blues and rock'n'roll!

You work with such legendary musicians as "Canned Heat”.

Yes, I work with them for many years. Fito de la Parra is totally crazy and he still is an absolute boogie music spirit.
"Canned Heat” will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. Fito told: "I will not advertise! What is it? 50 years on a boogie stage? It makes me old!”
It's wonderful that younger folks still listen to those old men. It means that blues has a future.

N.K. We noticed many young listeners at Sigulda Blues Fest, as well. It made us think of new promoting options.

By the way, which is the most popular German blues band?


T.R. To be honest, I can't really talk about German blues bands, because I know more about Finnish or even Latvian artists. For instance, you have the great "Latvian Blues Band”. The most recognized German band might be "B.B. and the Blues Shacks”. They are on European tour right now and are doing very well. I can't tell who will represent Germany at "European Blues Challenge”, because our national contest will be held in October.

Does European Blues Union continues to grow, new members are joining?

Yes, it continues to grow, I am glad about that, no doubt. But it still has no Estonian or Lithuanian representatives!

N.K. We have started negotiations with Estonians, I think, they might join soon. In such small countries, blues is mainly concentrated in one or few people's hands. So it depends on them. If they wish to create their blues foundation in order to join EBU.

Thomas, can you name the leading blues country in Europe? Germany? Great Britain?

Great Britain is definitely one of the leaders if not the first one. They had the blues boom in the 1960ies. "American Folk Blues Festival” was quite popular in Germany during the 1960ies, it was American musicians' union who toured in Europe. Scandinavia also has a great blues history. Now it's time for Latvia!

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PRIMERA EUROPEAN BLUES EXPO
Biblioteca Tecla Sala (Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona)


Entre el 19 de septiembre y 31 de octubre 2013 tendrá lugar la primera European Blues Expo en la Biblioteca Tecla Sala de Hospitalet de Llobregat (Barcelona). Tecla Sala, que es la sede oficial del fondo documental de la European Blues Union así como de la Sociedad de Blues de Barcelona, ofrecerá esta exposición para ilustrar las actividades organizadas por la European Blues Union. Los artistas que han cedido sus fotografías para tal fin son Pertti Nurmi (Finlandia), Alain Hiot (Francia), Sylvie Bosc (Francia), Fred Delforge (Francia), Roser I. Valls (España), SKAttomaTTO (Italia) y Charlie Hussey (Irlanda). Todo el material audiovisual que se expondrá está cedido por Bad Music Blues TV que han grabado las tres ediciones del European Blues Challenge y han realizado diversos programas especiales al respecto. La Biblioteca Tecla Sala cuenta con el apoyo logístico del Ayuntamiento de Hospitalet de Llobregat, y se espera la presencia de su alcaldesa, la Sra. Núria Marín, para asistir a los actos de inauguración de la European Blues Expo el 19 de septiembre a las 19.00 h, así como miembros de la European Blues Union. El acto estará amenizado con la actuación de Cotton Roots (Johnny Pérez, guitarra, voz y Little Jordi armónica).

BIBLIOTECA CENTRAL TECLA SALA
Fondo de Blues / Blues Documentos Unión Europea
Director: Sr. Pedro Bravo
Avda. Josep Tarradellas, 44. 08901 LHospitalet de Llobregat. Barcelona (España)
Tel.: 00.03.4932602484
bibteclasala@l-h.cat http://www.l-h.cat/biblioteques/teclasala.aspx 

Alain Hiot (França)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/yoyo95280/sets/
Sylvie Bosc (França)
http://sylbmonoeil.com/
Pertti Nurmi (Finlàndia)
http://nurmibluesphoto.com/
Roser I.Valls (Espanya)
http://www.lahoradelblues.com/
Charlie Hussey (Irlanda)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/41420984@N07/
Fred Delforge (França)
http://www.zicazic.com/
SKAttomaTTO (Itàlia)
http://www.skattomatto.net/
Bad Music Blues
http://badmusicblues.blogspot.com.es/

La EUROPEAN BLUES UNION (EBU) es una alianza de profesionales de Blues de toda Europa que han decidido unir sus esfuerzos en la promoción de esta música formando una red europea. Para ello, la EBU organiza el concurso europeo de Blues -el European Blues Challenge- y el Blues Market donde todos los miembros asociados pueden compartir contenidos y encontrar fórmulas de cooperación. En la actualidad hay 27 países que constituyen la EBU: Austria, Bélgica, Bulgaria, Croacia, República Checa, Dinamarca, Finlandia, Francia, Alemania, Grecia, Hungría, Irlanda, Italia, Letonia, Luxemburgo, Holanda, Noruega, Polonia, Portugal, Rumania, Rusia, Eslovaquia, Eslovenia, España, Suecia, Suiza y Reino Unido. Toda la información sobre la EBU en
www.europeanbluesunion.com
(Texto. Montserrat Pratdesaba)

FIRST EUROPEAN BLUES EXPO
Tecla Sala Public Library (Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona - Spain)

Between September 19 and October 31, 2013 will take place the first European Blues Expo at Tecla Sala Library in Hospitalet de Llobregat (Barcelona). Tecla Sala Library is the official home of the European Blues Union Archives and has a Blues Documentary Fund, promoted by Barcelona Blues Society. The exhibition aim is to illustrate the activities organized by the European Blues Union such as the European Blues Challenge and the Blues Market. Artists who have given their photographs for this event are Pertti Nurmi (Finland), Alain Hiot (France), Sylvie Bosc (France), Fred Delforge (France), Roser I. Valls (Spain), SKAttomaTTO (Italia) and Charlie Hussey (Ireland)- All the audiovisual material that will be shown comes from Bad Music Blues TV who have recorded the three editions of the European Blues Challenge and have made special TV programs and radio shows about them. Tecla Sala Library has the logistical support of the Municipality of Hospitalet de Llobregat, and the Mayor, Ms. Núria Marín is expected to attend the opening event of the European Blues Expo in September 19 at 19.00. together with some members of the European Bues Union Board. Sme live blues music will be provided by Cotton Roots (Johnny Pérez, guitar, vocals and Little Jordi, harmonica).
Everybody is invited to come to the opening event and visit it!
(Text by Montserrat Pratdesaba)

BIBLIOTECA CENTRAL TECLA SALA
Fondo de Blues / Blues Documentos Unión Europea
AvDA. Josep Tarradellas, 44.
08901 L’Hospitalet de Llobregat. Barcelona (Spain)
Tel.: 00.03.4932602484
http://www.l-h.cat/biblioteques/teclasala.aspx 

Alain Hiot (França) http://www.flickr.com/photos/yoyo95280/sets/
Sylvie Bosc (França)
http://sylbmonoeil.com/
Pertti Nurmi (Finlàndia)
http://nurmibluesphoto.com/
Roser I.Valls (Espanya)
http://www.lahoradelblues.com/
Charlie Hussey (Irlanda)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/41420984@N07/
Fred Delforge (França)
http://www.zicazic.com/
SKAttomaTTO (Itàlia)
http://www.skattomatto.net/
Bad Music Blues
http://badmusicblues.blogspot.com.es/

The European Blues Union is a non-profit organisation which gathers professional and blues lovers around Europe who have joined forces to promote blues creating an European blues net. Among other promotional actions. the EBU organizes the annual European Blues Challenge or Blues Market where all members can share experiences, contacts or stablish cooperation links. The EBU has now 27 associated countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland an United Kingdom. All related information at www.europeanbluesunion.com
(Texto. Montserrat Pratdesaba)


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VIEW EUROPEAN BLUES UNION PREVIOUS EVENTS:

2015 European Blues Challenge, GA, Blues Market, Blues Exo & BBS Awards (Brussels)

2014 European Blues Challenge, GA & Blues Market (Riga)

2013 European Blues Challenge, GA & Blues Market (Toulouse)

 

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Estatutos de la European Blues Union
(Resumen realizado por Big Mama según información de Jorden Wouters)

Gracias a la iniciativa de una serie de personas implicadas en el blues en diferentes países de Europa, surgió la idea de la creación de la European Blues Union, una asociación sin ánimo de lucro cuya finalidad es la promoción del blues a nivel europeo. A continuación se incluye un resumen de los estatutos de la asociación. Mas información en la web de la EBU www.bluesyou.com

- Conveniencia de establecer un marco legal que dote de entidad y rigor a la EBU.

- Naturaleza de la EBU: ser una asociación sin ánimo de lucro que promueva el Blues europeo en todo el mundo, en particular en Europa, cooperando entre festivales, promotoras, entidades, discográficas, artistas, medios  especializados, expertos en la materia,  impulsando la difusión del Blues a todos los niveles, apoyando proyectos educativos para las escuelas, intercambiando ideas o experiencias, consiguiendo el soporte de las autoridades, creando premios o eventos relacionados con el blues, captando nuevos miembros en la EBU, etc

- Miembros. Pueden ser de tres tipos: Activos, Asociados y Honorarios.

MIEMBROS ACTIVOS: Tendrán derecho a voto en la Asamblea General y suscribirán los estatutos. Pagarán una cuota anual que se fijará en la Asamblea General y que no podrá superar los 500 euros, según fija la ley belga. Podrán acceder a ser miembro activo las asociaciones registradas, las empresas legalmente constituidas o los individuos que tengan algo que ver con el Blues & Roots. Si un miembro activo no paga la cuota en el término de un año dejará de serlo. Los votos serán de 1 miembro = 1 voto.

MIEMBROS ASOCIADOS: No tendrán derecho a voto en la Asamblea General pero podrán asistir como oyentes. Pagarán una cuota anual inferior a la de los miembros activos que se fijará en la Asamblea General. Al igual que los miembros activos, serán afiliados a la EBU y podrán acceder y beneficiarse de las actividades de la EBU así como tener un espacio propio en la web www.bluesuyou.com, con blog individual para difundir su obra y/o actividad profesional.

MIEMBROS HONORÍFICOS: Serán designados por la EBU y no pagarán ninguna cuota. No tendrán derecho a voto en la Asamblea General y podrán asistir como oyentes. Podrán beneficiarse de las ventajas de ser de la EBU cómo si estuvieran afiliados.

- Requisitos para ser MIEMBRO ACTIVO.

a) Ser músico de blues (Blues & Roots) en el propio país o en el extranjero.

b) Ser organizador de un festival, promotor de conciertos, representante artístico, realizar un programa de radio y/o de televisión, una web, revista en papel o en soporte digital cuya actividad se base en el blues (Blues & Roots)

c) Ser aficionado al blues (Blues & Roots) y estar bien informado del ambiente musical de esta música en su propio país, o disponer de materiales o información sobre músicos, compositores, locales, radios, festivales, etc., de blues (Blues & Roots) en el propio país.

- Obligaciones administrativas de la EBU.

a) Disponer de un número fiscal (V.A.T.) en Bélgica

b) Llevar una contabilidad.

c) Dar cuenta anual en la Asamblea General del "financial rapport", detallando los ingresos y los gastos.

d) Pagar los impuestos pertinentes en Bélgica.

- Organigrama.

a) La Asamblea General de la EBU se celebrará una vez al año, pero se podrá convocar a petición del 20% de los miembros activos.

b) Se elegirán: Presidente/a, Tesorero/a y Secretario/a General de la EBU mediante votación en la Asamblea General anual.

c) Los elegidos como Presidente/a, Tesorero/a y Secretario/a General de la EBU podrán delegar poderes ejecutivos a un "board" o equipo de miembros activos también consensuados en la Asamblea General.

- Los Estatutos de la EBU se aprobaron en la Asamblea General Constitutiva que se celebró en Berlín entre los días 18 y 19 de marzo de 2011.

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Pagina Principal/Home
El Programa de Radio/The Blues Radio Show - La Programación/Playlist - Novedades Cds/Cds Received - Criticas de Discos/Actual Cd Reviews - Criticas Discos Antiguas/Old Cds Reviews - Reconocimientos/Show Aknowledgements - Links de Interés/Logo Links - Posters Blueseros/Blues Posters

Quien es Zúmel/Who is Zumel - Las Fotos/Blues Gallery - La "Harmonica Zúmel Blues Band"/The late "Harmonica Zúmel Blues Band" - La Sociedad de Blues de Barcelona S.B.B/Barcelona Blues Society SBB


Los Conciertos de Blues/Blues Gigs Calendar - Las Noticias Nacionales/Spanish Blues News - Los Artículos/Articles -
Colaboraciones/Contributions - El Diccionario de Blues - Las Entrevistas/The Interviews

Las Noticias Internacionales/International Blues News - Articulos Internacionales/International Articles - Entrevistas desde USA/USA Interviews
E-mail/Feedback