European Blues Union


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Si las circunstancias de la pandemia lo permiten, el European Blues Challenge 2022 tendrá lugar en Malmö (Suecia) durante el fin de semana del 25 al 26 de marzo de 2022.

El evento incluirá el European Blues Challenge, The Blues Market, Exposure and Exhibitions, EBU General Assembly, Blues Behind the Scenes Awards, Jam sessions...

Los eventos se llevarán a cabo de acuerdo con las recomendaciones gubernamentales y las medidas especiales de seguridad que se anunciarán en función de la evolución de la pandemia.

Más información próximamente.

Para los próximos 2 años todavía se está gestionando la realización en en Polonia en 2023 y Holanda en 2024. La European Blues Union agradece a los Organizadores locales, que se han tenido que enfrentar a enormed problemas debido a las cancelaciones cuando todo estaba listo y preparado, por toda su comprensión, amabilidad y cooperación.


If pandemic circumstances allow it, the European Blues Challenge 2022 will take place in Malmö (Sweden) during the weekend of 25 and 26 March 2022!!

The event will include the European Blues Challenge, The Blues Market, Exposure and Exhibitions, EBU General Assembly, Blues Behind the Scenes Awards, Jam sessions…

The venue will be held according to the governmental recommendations on a sitting hall and special safety measures that will be announced depending on pandemic evolution. More info to come soon.

For the 2 upcoming years we are still managing and willing to have 2023 in Poland and 2024 in The Netherlands.









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Due to the fact that the EBU Board was faced with issues beyond their control, like the still ongoing virus spreading in most European countries, slowly progressing vaccination implementation, as well as strict border crossing regulations. Moreover, they were very concerned about availability of proper flight connections and increasing prices, probably preventing many bands to participate to the event. Because of all these uncertainties the EBU Board and the Polish organizers considered the best and only option to cancel the European Blues Challenge in Chórzow, Poland, which was scheduled to take place during 27-29 May 2021.


This is the second time the EBU board must has to announce such sad news. However, the EBU Board members feel strong to continue promoting the Blues music in Europe. They say they will put all their efforts to make the next EBC edition an unforgettable event.







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Due to the Covid-19 pandemic affecting European countries, Stichting Blues in Zaanstad, in agreement with the European Blues Union and the Dutch Blues Foundation, has decided to postpone the EBC 2020 event.

Here is the official announcement by the board of the local organizers of the event, Blues in Zaanstad Foundation:

“The European Blues Challenge 2020 and the Covid-19 virus: update March 17

We regret to announce, as endorsed by the EBU as well as the DBF, the postponement of the European Blues Challenge 2020, due to the uncertainty regarding the status of the measures to be taken in the battle against Covid-19.

It is unwise to persevere in continuing the Challenge. Also several countries have informed the EBU that they will abstain from participating, either as precautionary measure or because of the restrictions imposed by their respective governments.

We emphasize that the Challenge is only postponed, not cancelled.

We hope that the developments in the Covid-19-situation will make it possible to convey to all an alternate date before the summer holidays. Tickets bought will remain valid and the value transferred to the new date.

We will keep you informed.

We deeply regret being forced to take this step, but the Covid-19-pandemic confronts us with an extraordinary situation with far reaching consequences.

With the blues in mind and full regards

The board of the Blues in Zaanstad Foundation”

The EBU deeply regrets the situation, but our main concern is to guarantee health and safety of the participating musicians, EBU members and all general audience.

We will keep you informed about any new practical issues and other relevant information.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding,

The EBU Board







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 Zaandam, The Netherlands, 17-18 April 2020

 Zaandam in the municipality of Zaanstad is a medium-sized town just a short trip north from the Dutch capital Amsterdam


Typical Zaandam street

Directly outside the train station of Zaandam is a completely rebuilt shopping esplanade with, e.g. bike rental, taxis and hotels. It is a 10-minute walk through this shopping esplanade, Gedempte Gracht, to reach an atmospheric area with many pubs and restaurants. This area along Zuiddijk and Prins Hendrikkade streets is located by the waterfront of the river Zaan.


Zaandam shopping area

You can explore the typical Dutch landscape with completely flat meadows and windmills around the city. The Zaan Region is possibly the oldest industrial area in the world (as it was not driven by steam but by wind), and it is shown in many old buildings. Zaandam is an excellent starting point for a cycling trip through the region.

The main EBC 2020 event will be held at the cozy Zaantheater, located  on Nicolaasstraat 3 at a walking distance of main hotels, restaurants, bars and shopping area.


Zaantheater main entrance

Zaantheater stalls & seats


Amsterdam Schiphol airport has a direct train link to Zaandam twice an hour. These trains have Hoorn as their final destination. From the airport you can also take any train to Amsterdam Centraal which stop at Amsterdam Sloterdijk and change there for Zaandam. Zaandam is just two stops from Amsterdam Centraal and you’ll always pass through Sloterdijk. Trains from Amsterdam leave regularly (4-8 trains per hour) until 01:00. The train ride from Amsterdam Centraal to Zaandam takes about 12 minutes. Amsterdam Centraal is of course connected with several European major cities.

Zaandam can be reached by car from all directions via highway A 8, taking the exits Zaandam-zuid or Zaandam centrum, after leaving the A 10 circular road around Amsterdam. Via the A 7 highway one can drive up north to Germany, eastern Europe and the Scandinavian countries. 


There are several hotels in the area and really not so far from the Zaantheater. Look for them and be fast and some of them are sold out!!



Friday and Saturday, 17 and 18 April
Showtime at 19,30 SHARP
Nicolaasstraat 3




In these links you will have detailed information about all participant bands:

Promo Songs:  


Bands Info:

Friday 17 April

14:00 to 16:30: EBU Blues Market and workshops

18:00: Doors open at Zaantheater, EBU membership badge and bracelet distribution.
           Live music welcome by Big Bo Brocken.
19:30: First night of the European Blues Challenge with 13 bands.
Please be there on time!!

Slovakia:                 Her Memories Band

Norway:                  Reloaded Norway

Austria:                   Marius Dobra Blues Band

Spain:                     Mingo, Sanpa & Bárez Bros

Belgium:                  Steven Troch Band

Hungary:                 Ripoff Raskolnikov Band

Denmark:                Long Line Down

Croatia:                   Jeremiah’s

Switzerland:            Justina Lee Brown Band

Czech Republic:       WBand

Germany:                The Bluesanovas

Romania:                 Othello Trio

Bulgaria:                 BluesTraffic 

c. 02:00:                 End of 1st night of Challenge


Saturday 18 April

14:00 to 16:30: EBU Blues Market and Workshops

18:00: Doors open at Zaantheater, EBU membership badge and bracelet distribution.
Live music welcome by The Ragtime Rumours.

19:30:  Second night of the European Blues Challenge with 12 bands. Please be there on time!

Sweden:                  Ore Island Penitentiary Band

Poland:                    Sosnowski

Estonia:                   Kaisa Ling Thing

Greece:                   The Lazytrains

UK:                         The Achievers

Ireland:                   Crazycrow

France:                   Jessie Lee & The Alchemists

Finland:                   Lumberjacks

Luxemburg:             Ramblin’ South

Netherlands:            Dave Warmerdam Band

Portugal:                 The Ramblers

Italy:                       Betta Blues Society

01:45: Announcement of the Blues Behind the Scenes Awards

02:00: Announcement of the EBC Winners

02:15 until the weewee hours: After party with live music by EBC musicians


Tickets for general audience:

As usual, the EBU members are entitled for entrance tickets based on their membership but there are combi tickets available for general audience for the two nights, Friday 17th and Saturday 18th April. These tickets can be bought via ticket shop  


Friday and Saturday, 17 and 18 April
14:00 – 16:30
Location: Zaantheater, Rabobank foyer and Forbo Flooring room.  



The Blues Market is an exclusively tailored, unique and free opportunity for all EBU Members to present their activities in an informal setting, to meet, interact and communicate with other blues professionals, media and enthusiasts from all over Europe, as well as to meet with the bands. The EBU will reserve a stand (a table) at your disposal, where you can have your presentation, publication and advertising materials on display. 

So far we have following confirmations and are expecting many more:

Naked (Belgium)
Thomas Toussaint (Netherlands)
Bluestown Records (Norway)
Digital Blues (UK)
UK Blues Federation (UK)
Goodtime Booking (Belgium)
Big D Bookings (Belgium)
Italian Blues Union (Italy)
Kaz Hawkins (France)
European Blues Union
Notodden Blues Festival (Norway)
Associaçao BB Blues (Portugal)
Mingo Balaguer (Spain)
Zicazic (France)
France Blues (France)
Norwegian Blues News (Norway)
Norwegian Blues Union (Norway)
Sofia Blues Meeting (Bulgaria)
Blue Mountain Artists – Ketch Agency (USA)
Moulin Blues Ospel (Netherlands)
BlueSylvania Foundation / BigFoot Entertainment (Romania)
Hokahey Music Productions (Finland)
Associação Escravos da Cadeinha (Portugal)
AZ Blues (Italy)
Tub Thumper Records (Netherlands)
Baltic Blues (Germany)
Original Blues News - Finnish Blues Society (Finland)
Delta Booking / Twój Blues Magazine (Poland)
Photographer Frank Nielsen (Denmark)
Suwałki Culture Center – Suwalki Blues Festival (Poland)
Malmoe-Copenhagen Blues Connexion (Sweden)
Miasto Chorzów / The City of Chorzów (Poland)
Dutch Blues Foundation (Netherlands)
Black Music Productions (Spain)
Blues Estonia (Estonia)
Detonics (Netherlands)

This year we are planning to offer you some extra activities like the possibility to meet with the bands performing at the Challenge. Additionally, there are plans to host interesting blues workshops, “Young People in Blues Business”, “Blues for Kids” and possibly a presentation by the European Jazz Network.


Location: Zaantheater

Our annually growing European Blues Expo photo exhibition will be in a form of a digital presentation with amazing photos from the previous EBCs. To the previous EBC editions we have added pictures from last year’s Challenge in Ponta Delgada kindly donated by Aigars Lapsa, Christophe Losberger, Frank Nielsen, Juha Seila, Roser Blues and Vitor José Mota Correia.


The EBC acts will be judged by 6 international judges based on the following criteria:

  1. Originality
  2. Instrumental Talent
  3. Vocal Talent
  4. Stage Presence
  5. Blues Content


The awards include performing at the following confirmed festivals:


·       BB Blues Festival (Portugal), June

·       Sierre Blues Festival (Switzerland), June

·       Santa Maria Blues Festival, (Azores Islands, Portugal), July

·       Notodden Blues Festival. (Norway), August

·       Swing Wespelaar, (Belgium), August

·       Blues in Hell, (Norway), September

·       Lucerne Blues Festival, (Switzerland), November


W We are still expecting some more award confirmations.



The 10th edition of the European Blues Challenge is being made possible thru close collaboration with the EBU with Blues in Zaanstad Association and The Dutch Blues Foundation, both Active Members of the EBU.

Blues In Zaanstad (BiZ) “keeps the blues alive” in the Zaan region, north of Amsterdam, by organising concerts, educative activities and other events related to blues music.

The Dutch Blues Foundation was founded in October 2009 to promote blues music and musicians. They want to offer talented musicians a stage, ensure recognition of blues musicians and contribute to the fame of the blues in the Netherlands.






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Let us introduce all the great artists representing their home countries at the 10th edition of the European Blues Challenge in Zaandam (The Netherlands) between 17 and 18 April 2020.

25 countries will be represented by these good bands during an amazing and unforgettable Challenge you don’t have to miss!!

In this links you will find detailed information about participant bands:

Promo Songs:  


Marius Dobra Blues Band

The bandleader and songwriter Marius Dobra has been on the road with his guitar for more than 40 years. Music and lyrics are, with a few exceptions, all written by local lower Austrian artists .You can clearly feel his passion for blues, Jesus Christ and the influence of his role models Gary Moore and SRV. The Marius Dobra Blues Band has performed at numerous national as well as international festivals featuring famous musicians such as like Josè Feliciano, Supermax, Robben Ford,Josh Smith,Eric Gales, and many more. They succeed by the right mix of blues, rock and very strong ballads – the tension definitely never drops.


Steven Troch Band

Singer/harmonica master Steven Troch got “contaminated” by rhythm & blues in his late teens and has been several fronting bands since 1994.  In 2016 he surrounded himself with a very talented & experienced bunch of musicians. Guitarist Matt T Mahony is carrying the torch high, keeping one eye on tradition while pushing forward into newer areas. Miss Liesbeth Sprangers keeps a steady pace on her powerhouse bass and drummer Bernd Coene brews up a wide variety of rock-solid rhythms like no other. Steven Troch Band is a tight four piece band that plays rough-edged contemporary blues with soul-baring conviction.


Blues Traffic

Blues Traffic is an electric blues & blues-rock band established during 1997 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The band keeps strong influence of Texas blues heroes and the 70s rock; the guitar improvisations and the expressive rhythm section symbolized the band. Apart from the club scene, they have memorable performance in 1999 at Bourgas Blues Fest, featuring Blues Brothers and the blues hero of Serbia, Pera Joe. Live session has been broadcasted by Bulgarian National TV. In the first decade of 21st century the band performs twice at the prominent (at that time) festival “Spirit of Bourgas” and numerous of other local festivals. In 2005 “the Traffickers” record two trucks feat. the blues icon of Bulgaria the piano player Vili Kavaldjiev. 2015 saw Blues Traffic recording two new trucks. “Shoes for Blues” reaches 1st place in the national TV chart while “Let Me Tell You about the Women” reaches #3 at Radio chart Top 40. During 2017 Blues Traffic released the album “Shoes For Blues”– a proof of talent and strong identity The next years are period of development of their musical style with impact of likes as Allman Brothers Band and Blind Faith.


A group of groove enthusiasts, aka Jeremiah’s, has been keeping the same mission since 2011: a deep-seated blues mantra; decorated with funk and rock-reinforced. Jeremiah’s is the last year’s winner of the Croatian Blues Challenge in the band category. In January 2018 the band featured Croatia with its authoring songs at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. Also, they won 14 Mega Muzika Award for “The best young bend 2017” and HGF festival 2018. Performing at bars and festivals in Croatia, they are developing their own sound, which was recorded in March and April of 2017 in the photogenic and acoustic theater of the small town St. Filip i Jakov. In January 2018 they recorded 5 songs in Dark Horse Studio near Nashville, Tennessee. The sound of the album counting 9 authoring songs has remained authentic due to the power of live analog recording.

Czech Republic:

WBand was founded in 2009 when bassist Walter Bartoš, guitarist Palo Hrnčirík and drummer Miroslav Mikeska together created a blues project. Since 2014, Walter Bartoš Jr. started playing guitar in the band. WBand focuses on blues music with elements of funk, soul and rock. Some music passages are close to jazz. The band regularly performs at Central European festivals. This year there were for example blues festivals in Poland (Przeworsk, Suwalki, Chorzow and Krosno), Blues Road and Strážnické rockové slavnosti in the Czech Republic. In addition, he performs on the club scene in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Since 2017, singer Michaela Vraňuchova has been performing with WBand. Band members are often invited as studio players to various other projects.

Long Line Down

From Denmark comes a dynamic duo which brings an original and refreshing combination of downhome blues & old school rock. Characterized by both the prominent drums and vocals of Anders Holm and the gritty guitar playing from Martin Christensen, this two-piece blues’n’rock band is a true ‘in your face’ experience, with captivating songs. Though they may seem new, since Long Line Down has only existed since early 2014, they have been performing nationwide on a regular basis and have played at international festivals such as the Van Thom Weekender in Bremen, plus a tour in Belgium and Germany. Take note, as this band has been moving through the Danish underground scene, which has not gone unnoticed. Getting a lot of attention in this circuit, they play offbeat venues regularly and their career looks as promising as  the unique musical combination they create.

Kaisa Ling Thing

Kaisa Ling Thing is a vaudeville blues band from Estonia, led by singer Kaisa Ling. After years of investigating classic female blues singers Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ida Cox, Alberta Hunter, Chippie Hill, and many others, she has recruited the help of lyricist and blues musician extraordinaire Aapo Ilves to introduce the best and most scandalous hits of historical vaudeville blues to the Estonian audience. Dealing openly and humorously with taboos –sex, violence, suicide, and racism–, classic female blues singers were the pioneers of the record industry and we as a society would be remiss to forget them. Accompanied by Rene Paul on the piano, Argo Toomel on double bass, and Peep Kallas on drums, Kaisa presents a humorous commentary on current events with the help of a collection of 100 year old songs and original neo-vaudeville with a vintage flair.


Lumberjacks is a bold mix of styles in the vein of roots music. One foot is nailed to blues but the other reaches soul, funk, rock and even doo-wop. These forest men rely on their own strong compositions which reflect life’s ups and downs. That’s what the blues are all about! The well thought-out band sound involves all the musicians singing lead and backing vocals, which is another forte of the band.

Jessie Lee & The Alchemists

Singer/guitarist Jessie Lee Houllier and guitarist/composer Alexis Didier (alias Mr. Al) first crossed paths on the Paris blues scene in 2011. A year later, they were performing together, first playing blues-rock covers and then their own songs. Excited by both song-writing and performing, they decided to put a band together that would reflect all their musical influences. So, in 2014, a solid rhythm section was added to back Jessie Lee’s powerful vocals and Alexis’s lead guitar work. The duo became a quartet with a hardy new groove laid down by Laurent Cokelaere on bass and Julien Audigier on drums. Soon after, they were joined by Laurian Daireon keyboards, adding a subtle finishing touch to the alchemy of the band. Although they cover three generations, all five band members grew up listening to American and British music. So it was only natural that this became the source of their inspiration and energy. Together they perform original songs that reflect their different musical backgrounds, a well-balanced blend of blues, soul, rock and jazz. Influences from the past drive their creativity, but their music is unmistakably modern and original. After three years and a multitude of concerts, a debut album became a necessity and finally saw the day on April 13, 2018.

The Bluesanovas

The Bluesanovas – 21st Century Blues!
That’s the band that proved to provide the new kind of explosive blues and boogie music over the past few years! Formed in 2015, they already took part in the Blues Festival Hildesheim in 2016 and the Blue Wave Festival Rügen in 2017, taking a role as the new rising star in the blues scene. Since at least the 90th issue of the Blues News Germany, The Bluesanovas are known as the best hope in the new generation of German blues bands. Now, their second album “Emergency Call for the Blues”, published by Timezone, is available.

Melvin Schultz – vocals
Nico Dreier – piano
Filipe Henrique – guitar
Nikolas Karolewicz – bass
Philipp Dreier – drums


The name is Lazytrains but don’t get fooled… these cats are here to rumble! A mighty fine blend of fiercing blues, foot stomping soul, with a twist of funk, un-earthy female vocals and their debut single “The Sound of the Blues” set the pace for the Greek based band to provoke the spirits and mojo for the new era of the blues scene. Lazytrains are a music band that has been around for some years a group whose members come from diverse musical backgrounds and aesthetic references These differences seem to merge in a common ground they all share within the blues family including elements of garage, rock ‘n’ roll, swing, jazz, funk, soul but also ventures in creative noise. Of the above mentioned mainly they choose to play their favourite tunes and well known ones as well as their own original songs. In their shows they tend to be extroverted creating channels of communication and communion through dancing. Lazytrains are a music band that has been around for some years a group whose members come from diverse musical backgrounds and aesthetic references These differences seem to merge in a common ground they all share within the blues family including elements of garage, rock ‘n’ roll, swing, jazz, funk, soul but also ventures in creative noise. Of the above mentioned mainly they choose toi play their favourite tunes and well known ones as well as their own original songs. In their shows they tend to be extroverted creating channels of communication and communion through dancing.

Ripoff Raskolnikov Band

Both an accomplished blues guitar player and a prolific singer/songwriter, Ripoff Raskolnikov must be considered one of the most idiosyncratic figures on the European blues scene. Like thousands of his colleagues, he admires and reveres such blues greats as Blind Willie McTell, Skip James, Robert Johnson or John Lee Hooker. On the other hand, and quite unlike most of his colleagues, he has no desire to imitate or copy them. Nor, for that matter, is he willing to remain within the boundaries of what is generally accepted as the blues. What does connect him to the aforementioned giants is his fully committed, unwavering integrity in exploring, and coming to terms with such human emotions as love, passion, desire, loss, pain, the quest of beauty, hunger for life, or fear of death. Driven by such forces, Raskolnikov unleashes songs of powerful poetic and musical expression which, more often than not, defy stylistic categorization. On stage with his band, including Szabolcs Nagy on piano, Laca Varga on bass and Lajos Gyenge on drums, three excellent musicians from Budapest/Hungary who worked on his latest, much-acclaimed albums, whatever the line-up, Raskolnikov never fails to create an ambiance of poignant intensity. He is the sort of artist you like to watch as well as listen to. His stage charisma, his dry sense of humor and his highly personal approach to the blues make him one of a kind.


Crazycrow are an lrish band based in Dublin, lreland. The guys produce an energetic and dynamic sound that brings all their years of touring and recording experience to every performance. Their music is informed by the blues and the influence of John Hiatt, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Bonnie Raitt is distilled into the 12 original tracks on their new album “Movin’ On”, written and recorded by the band. This is pure music, no loops, no tracks, no samples, just great song writing with hooks, grooves and earworms that will stick in your head. They bring this dynamic sound to each performance, wowing audiences and peers with their straight-ahead, no-nonsense approach to live shows.

Betta Blues Society

The Betta Blues live show is an electrifying experience. Fully involving the audience, their show is made up of two distinct parts: one part features fresh reworks of blues, folk and gospel standards from the early 20th century. The other part includes original tunes from the album Let Them Out. The album recounts personal and lived experiences – exactly like the blues tradition of the early 1900s. With the charismatic Maulo at the helm, the band lives and breathes the genre in a fresh and original way, without resorting to simple reproduction. Betta Blues keeps the spirit of the blues alive and kicking whilst making it accessible, widening its appeal beyond a niche of passionate followers. A key strength of the band is the blend created by musicians hailing from different musical backgrounds. They fearlessly intertwine blues, swing and rock, putting on an involving and exciting show with a modern twist. In January 2018 the band reached the final at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis (Tennessee, USA) organized by The Blues Foundation, for the first time for an Italian artist.

Ramblin’ South

Based in Rumelange Luxembourg, Ramblin’ South encompasses the rough and warm essence of the south, mostly inspired by rock, blues and jazz. Established in 2015 some of the bands highlights so far include performances at renowned festivals like Blues Express, Fête de la Musique, Blues ‘n Jazz Rallye Luxembourg. Appearances at CCRD Op der Schmelz, Nancy Web-TV and regular gigs in local bars and pubs have anchored the band as a permanent fixture of the local blues scene. A healthy mix of own compositions and interpretations of existing songs, consisting of gripping’ harmonica and slide guitar riffs, bundled with exciting boogie beats and a distinct vocal timbre, makes a Ramblin’ South concert an unforgettable event!

Dave Warmerdam Band

In 2018 and 2019 the Dave Warmerdam Band has been steadily making a name for itself in the Dutch music scene. Five very young musicians who totally agree on how to express their feelings and emotions through blues music. Time after time they amaze their audience with their lyrics and the feel they put into their music, being it classic blues songs or the material they write themselves. The energy and enthusiasm the band displays makes it a must for every blues (music) lover!


Reloaded Norway

Reloaded Norway is a bluesrock band from the heart of the blues in Norway, the City of Notodden. The vocalist, Heidi Blåsmo, writes the songs and jams them with the other musicians. The result takes you on an endless journey of raw rhythm and spiritual pleasure. Under the hood, you won’t get a shiny polished fantasy, but the real deal… grease and all. This is also what you’ll get from their newest album “My Longest Mile”, a journey that sheds a lot of pain, but also the finest pleasure. The lyrics are richly spiced by the vocalist’s inner thoughts. This album is a good mix of blues and rock, and it is definitely as versatile as the songwriter herself. The guys in the band have shaped the music with a steady hand, and this combined has become something quite unexpected, but exciting. In June 2018 the band got promoted by a Dutch radio host that liked the band and said that this music needs to get a place out in the big world. Since that day, Reloaded Norway’s music has been played several times on several radio channels all over the world. They were the “Artist Of The Week” in NRK P1 in the north of Norway in May 2018. They have been listed on TOP 20 Pennsylvania, TOP 40 on IBBA’s list, TOP 40 as the most played Blues album in Main, USA, TOP 50 Roots Music Report Chart as the most played Blues Rock album, TOP 50 Roots Music Report Chart as the most played Blues album. They got listed as No 1 on TOP 50 Roots Music Report Chart as the most played Blues Rock song WORLD WIDE with “Saturday Night Diva”. Words like wow’s and oh’s are often used by their audience. Radio hosts all over, say that this band is different and exciting with a vocalist that is highly extraordinary.


Sosnowski is known as a one man band performer, songwriter and experienced guitarist, known for his characteristic hoarse vocals. His works not only won the recognition of many music journalists, but also won the hearts of many listeners that made his songs hitting high positions of Polish charts. He is one of the few artists in Poland who manage to smuggle blues music into mainstream. He got awarded with such important Polish music awards as Mateusz Trójki, Offensywa De Luxe, as well as the Grand Prix of Suwałki Blues Festival, during which he had the honor of doing the opening act (opening for Corey Harris). He performed at important Polish festivals, such as Męskie Granie, Enea Spring Break, ZEW się budzi Festival or the Blues Maraton.

The Ramblers

With a career span of 12 years, The Ramblers, amongst other victories, won the Iberian Suberock Festival in Spain in 2018. Also, they were proud to open for international blues names such as BB King, Ian Siegal and, as well, Carvin Jones. Coming from their early years as a band formed in their University, their music has matured in more recent years turning themselves in a very tight and cohesive band that warp powerful performances wherever they present themselves.

Othello Trio

In concept, Florentin Milcof aka Othello has had the idea of a piano blues trio since 2015. Practically however, The Othello Trio had their first public appearance in Focsani in September 2017 and the band’s first project is call “Piano Blues Made In Romania.” A unique endeavour on the Romanian musical scene, the band promotes the music of great pianists in the history of blues, as well as producing original blues songs in the Romanian language.

Her Memories Band

Her Memories is a band that came together in Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia in 2017. Heavily influenced by blues, soul and rock, the band members devoted themselves to create a balanced mix on the blues-rock core of Her Memories. In October 2019 they released their debut single “Unbeliever”.

Mingo, Sanpa & Bárez Bros

Mingo, Sanpa & Bárez Bros combine two generations of blues in this country. The mixture of these great musicians is explosive! Their live music, full of energy will keep your feet moving all night. On the one hand, the energetic Mingo Balaguer, with more than 30 years on stage, acclaimed as one of the greatest musicians in the national and European blues harmonica. He has been part of the legendary “Caledonia Blues Band” for ten years and was the founder of “The Blues Blasters” and “Mingo & The Blues Intruders”. He has also shared the stage with great artists such as Charlie Musselwhite, Carey Bell, Gary Primich, Sugar Ray Norcia, Kenny Neal, Jr. Mischo, Bruce Ewan, Miguel Ríos, Raimundo Amador, Bobby Radcliff, Charlie Sayles, Paul Lamb, Jerry Portnoy, Sherman Robertson, Otis Grand and Lurrie Bell among others. On the other hand, Pablo Sanpa, who stands out as a national reference in terms of the electric blues guitar and the brothers Sergio and Pablo Bárez, bass and drums respectively, form a solid and experienced rhythmic base based on playing in the best blues clubs in our country, accompanying a large number of national and international artists every night. Both Sanpa and the Bárez brothers have been part of the bands of artists such as Eddie C. Campbell, Gene Taylor (The Blasters-Fabulous Thunderbirds), Lou Marini (Blues Brothers), James Harman, John Primer, Kenny Blues Boss Wayne, Boney Fields (Albert Collins, Junior Wells) and Nico Wayne Toussaint among others.

Ore Island Penitentiary Band

Ore Island Penitentiary Band was born in the swampiest south of Sweden, where there may, or may not, actually be any swamps. We started playing blues standards but quickly realized that we were leaning towards a more theatrical and darker approach to the music, so we focused on the black magic and hence the concept of “rhythm and voodoo” was born. Musically we try to exist in a border-town where Dr John, Tom Waits, Screaming Jay and Howling Wolf all would be welcome. The band consist of five members. Lupus sings, Jonatan plays the keys, Michel the guitars, Carl works the bass and Stefan plays the drums. All the members are better musicians then the singer. But he makes up for it with his obsessive dancing, bootlegging, and general son-of-a-gunness. We try to go 50/50 with our own material and covers, but lately our own stuff has been spilling over.

Justina Lee Brown Band

Justina Lee Brown, a singer/songwriter from West Africa is a survival child from the ghetto streets of Lagos, Nigeria, living her life and telling her real story through her music. Her sound is interpreted with funky soul blues and a fusion of her Afroroots. On stage Justina is a power house and a force of greatness that is truly authentic. During her performances she brings the real magic of music to life, packed with her identity and uniqueness. Justina Lee Brown and her Swiss band are now on tour with their new album “Black & White Feeling“. Each song on the new album is a piece of Justina Lee Brown’s biography.

United Kingdom:
The Achievers

The Achievers are one of the most talked about and critically acclaimed new bands on the UK Blues and Roots Music scene. With a reputation for innovation and originality they prove that soul, groove and song-craft still matter in the blues. Their own brand of modern, secular ‘Dancefloor Gospel’ has catapulted them from near-complete obscurity to rave reviews and big-stage appearances across Europe. Their new album “The Lost Arc” was recorded mostly ‘live in the studio’ and is as much of an event as it is an album – it marks the arrival of The Achievers as a new force in British Blues & Roots songwriting. The band draw on their obsession with American vintage dancing music and the songwriting pioneers of early Rhythm & Blues, Americana and Southern Soul. With their infectious rhythms, joyful melodies and four-part harmonies The Achievers stand proudly as British Blues & Roots outliers.




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La próxima edición del European Blues Challenge promete ser un gran evento, al celebrarse el décimo aniversario del concurso que reúne a los países de toda Europa que pertecenen a la European Blues Union.

El 10º EBC tendrá lugar en la ciudad de Zaandam, que es el núcleo más importante de Zaanstad, en el área metropolitana de Amsterdam (Holanda). 25 países europeos han confirmado su participación.

Los conciertos se realizarán en el Zaantheater y empezarán a las 19.30 h. El European Blues Market tendrá lugar en el hall del teatro durante los mismos días entre las 13.30h y las 16.30h, con lo cual los músicos tendrán una gran oportunidad para promocionarse y ofrecer su proyecto a los medios de comunicación especializados en blues, así como a promotores y directores de festivales.

Una vez celebrado apuntadas las bandas y evaluadas por el Consejo de Asesores, los ganadores y representantes de nuestro pais han sido la formación MINNGO, SAMPA & BAREZ BROS.


Enhorabuena y mucha suerte a los ganadores. Felicidades también a todos los inscritos que han mostrado todos un nivel muy alto.

Mas información obre el evento y la venta de tickets en: y en








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Ponta Delgada / Sao Miguel, Azores Islands (Portugal) / 4-6 April 2019


Mark these dates in your calendar !


São Miguel Island


Sao Miguel landscape

The São Miguel Island is the largest, most touristic and also the most varied in the archipelago. Rich in culture and beauty, São Miguel is blessed with a wide range of natural phenomena, sightseeing opportunities and active pursuits. The most spectacular places to visit are the hot springs and volcanic activity in Furnas, the Seven cities with its beautiful double crater, and Lagoa do Fogo (Fire Lake) with its mystical glistering waters. There are plenty of activities ranging from water sports to horseback riding, excellent hiking and cycling opportunities as well as golf, tennis, paragliding and of course the chance to see the famed whales and dolphins.

Ponta Delgada


Ponta Delgada

The history of this cosmopolitan city is present in its romantic gardens, along its narrow, paved streets and in its palaces, which portray the past economic power of this region. Ponta Delgada presents a vast cultural, architectural and historical heritage as well as an idyllic landscape, which have led to a flourishing tourism industry. There is a growing range of services, activities and entertainment, shops, theatres, cinemas and night life venues. The Marina has been renovated to feature swimming pools and leisure spaces. The António Borges Romantic Garden and the magnificent Carlos Machado Museum, located at the former monastery of Santo André, portray natural history, fishing and agriculture specific for the entire island of São Miguel.

The main EBC 2019 event will be held at the magnificent Coliseu Micaelense, dating from 1917, located on Rua de Lisboa in downtown Ponta Delgada.


The Ponta Delgada airport, also called The João Paulo II Airport (IATA code: PDL / ICAO code: LPPD) or popularly known as Nordela airport, is the main entry point for passengers and air cargo in the whole archipelago. Airlines and their destinations operating in this airport:

·         Air Berlin / Dusseldorf
Azores Airlines / Frankfurt, Lisbon, Oporto, Munich, London-Gatwick, Funchal, Gran Canaria, Faro, also from USA, Canada
Easyjet / Lisbon
Jetairfly / Brussels
Primera Air / Billund, Copenhagen
Ryanair / Lisbon, London-Stansted
TAP Portugal / Lisbon
TUI Airlines / Netherlands

Please take INTO ACCOUNT potential occasional flight delays.

The airport is located at a very short distance from downtown Ponta Delgada with both public transport (about 10 min) and affordable taxi transfer.

The Azores time zone is UTC/GMT -1 that is 2 hours ahead of central Europe.


Ponta Delgada Map with relevant places



Rua de Lisboa, 9500-216.
Phone: 351 296 307 300.

Hotel Royal Garden


The hotel is 3 minutes walking to Coliseu Micaelense and 5 minutes to city centre. The 4* hotel has 193 double rooms, most of them with balcony, and includes swimming pool, sauna, spa, tennis, bar, restaurant….


Swimming pool and restaurant


You should book your rooms through The booking code for EBU members special prices and discount will be sent to you upon receipt of your EBU membership renewal. This booking code also can be used to rent a car in


HOTEL PONTA DELGADA (for participating bands)
Rua João Francisco Cabral, 49.


Hotel Ponta Delgada

The hotel is 3 minutes walking to Coliseo Micaelense and 5 minutes to city centre. The 3* hotel has 90 rooms, all with a balcony, and includes swimming pool, sauna, bar...

PRE-EBC OPENING BLUES NIGHT – Portuguese Blues Showcase

Thursday 4 April @ 22:00
Location: Coliseo Micaelense

Doors will open at 21:00 with opening of exhibitions and a welcome drink to EBU members, official guests and sponsors (Cocktail are offered by the local organizers).
The showcase will present three bands which have represented Portugal in previous editions of the EBC: BUDDA POWER BLUES, MESSIAS & THE HOT TONES and VITOR BACALHAU. Note: This showcase is locally organized, so you will need to buy tickets


Friday and Saturday, 5-6 April
Showtime @ 21:00 SHARP
Location: Coliseo Micaelense
Doors will open @ 20:00


Coliseu Micaelense

Tickets for general audience at:


Press passes should be asked at this email


Friday 5 April
13:00 – 18:00 Blues Market & Wine Showcase
16,00 – 17,30: Workshop “Digital Marketing” at Pontas Do Mar Pavilion (room limited to 40 seats with an entrance of 10 €). You can buy your tickets at

Saturday, 6 April
14:00 – 17:30

Portas do Mar (see map)

Portas Do Mar

The Blues Market is an exclusively tailored, unique and free opportunity for all EBU Members to present their activities in an informal setting open to general audience, to meet, interact and communicate with other blues professionals, artists, media and enthusiasts from all over Europe. Not to mention the expected overseas blues professionals. We are expecting many blues friends to attend the EBC and the Blues Market at Portas do Mar in Ponta Delgada, 4-6 April 2019. This time there will be the extra bonus of availability of some local products (beer, wine perhaps) and, as a new feature, a Blues Workshop.

Portas do Mar is a huge venue in the harbor, where we are expecting more than 50 exhibitors. It is 15-20 minute walking distance from the Royal Garden Hotel. A shuttle service will be available for those carrying lot of presentation material. So far we have following confirmations and are expecting many more:

1) Croatian Blues Forces (Croatia)
2) AZ Blues (Italy)
3) Blues Greece / Outlaw Blues Society (Greece)
4) European Blues Union
5) Associaçao BB Blues (Portugal)
6) Norsk Bluesunion & Norwegian Bluesnews Magazine (Norway)
7) Big Mama Montse (Spain)
8) Societat Blues Barcelona (Spain)
9) Digital Blues (United Kingdom)
10) UK Blues Federation (United Kingdom)
11) Blue Mountain Artists (USA)
12) Blues Productions - Blues Heaven Festival (Denmark)
13) Zicazic (France)
14) France Blues (France)
15) Finnish Blues Society (Finland)
16) Rauma Blues (Finland)
17). Wentus Blues Band (Finland)
18). Gastroblues (Hungary)
19). Dutch Blues Foundation (Netherlands)
20). Big D Bookings (Belgium)
21). Limma bvba (Belgium)
22). Naked (Belgium)
23). Il Blues Magazine (Italy)
24). Photographer Frank Nielseen
25). Black Music Productions (Spain)
26). Delta Booking / Twój Blues Magazine (Poland)
27). Suwalki Blues Festival (Poland)
28). Andhrea & The Black Cats (Spain)
29). Baltic Blues Society (Germany)
30). Thrill Blues Festival (Croatia)
31). Fjæra Bluesklubb & FjordBlues Festivalen (Norway)
32). Asociacion B Sound. Benicassim Blues Festival (Spain)
33). Swedish Blues Association (Sweden)
34). Notodden Bluesklubb (Norway)

Besides the customary EBU Blues Market we will for the first time have a c. one-hour Blues Workshop with the scope on “Digital Marketing” during the Friday Blues Market. The room is limited strictly to 40 seats and there is a 10 € participation fee.  

The Blues Market will probably include a wine showcase and also information about the local blues scene and festivals in the Azores. The bars, terraces and boat harbor next door will add to a relaxed atmosphere.


Our yearly increasing European Blues Expo exhibition will be in a form of a digital presentation (movie loop) of photos from previous EBC editions on the first floor of Coliseu Micaelense during the 23 nights show.
To the old EBC editions there have been added pictures of Hell last edition kindly donated by Christopher Losberger, Frank Nielsen, Helge Nickel, Pertti Ñurmi and Roser Blues.
Physical posters of last EBC editions will be on display too
Location : Coliseo Micaelense

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Thursday, 4 April

12,00 to 14,00: Lunch at Royal Garden for those having ordered the meal arrangement (one drink included)

19,00 to 20,30: Dinner at Royal Garden for those having ordered the meal arrangement (one drink included)

21,00 to 22,00: Briefing, reception of EBU members, official guests and sponsors and exhibitions opening at Coliseo Micaelense offered by the organization

22,30 to 02,00: Portuguese showcase at Coliseu Micaelense. Tribute to portuguese blues and last three bands representing Portugal on EBC with BUDDA GUEDES, MESSIAS  & THE HOT TONES and VITOR BACALHAU

Tickets available at:


Friday, 5 April

12,00 to 14,00: Lunch at Royal Garden Hotel for those having ordered meal arrangement (one drink included)

14,00 - 18,00: The Blues Market and wine showcase

16,00 to 17,30: Workshop “Digital Marketing” at the Market pavilion (room limited to 40 seats 10 € entrance)

19,00 to 20,30: Dinner at Royal Garden hotel for those having ordered meal arrangement (one drink included)


EBC 1st Night. Playing order. – Please be there on time:

20,45: Welcome by Master of Ceremony

21,00: Hungary;                György Ferenczi and The Rackajam

21,30: Portugal;                Delta Blues Riders

22,00: Belgium:                Black Cat Biscuit

22,30: Romania:               Rares Totu's Midnight Sun

23,00: Estonia:                 Hilbert’s Problems

23,30: Poland:                  The Smooth Gentlemen

00,00: Spain:                    Big Yuyu

00,30: Norway:                Geir Bertheussen Blues Express

01,00: Switzerland:         Manu Hartmann & the City Blues Band

01,30: Germany:              Richie Arndt Band

02,00: France:                 Elise & The Sugar Sweet

02,30: End EBC 1st. night

02,30 to 05,00: Jam session & DJ performance

Saturday, 6 April

13,30 to 14,00: Lunch at Royal Garden Hotel for those having ordered the meal arrangement (one drink included)

14:30 to 17:30: Blues Market and wine showcase 

19,00 – 20,30: Dinner at Royal Garden Hotel for those having ordered the meal arrangement (one drink included)

21,00: EBC 2nd night playing order – Please be there on time:

21,00: Italy:                      The Drive

21,30: Croatia:                  Tomislav Goluban Band

22,00: Denmark:               Trainman Blues

22,30: United Kingdom:   Kyla Brox Quartet

23,00: Finland:                  Jo’ Buddy & Down Home King III feat. Nieminen

23,30: Luxembourg:         Heavy Petrol

00,00: Slovakia:                 Tony Bigmouth Pearson 

00,30: Greece:                   Sakis Dovolis Power Trio

01,00: Netherlands:          The Dynamite Blues Band

01,30: Austria:                   Somerset Barnard Band

02,00: Sweden:                  Marino Valle Band

02,30: Announcement of the Blues Behind the Scenes Award winners

02:45  Announcement of the winners

3,00 to 05;00: Jam session b / DJ performance

The acts will be judged on following criteria:

1. Originality
2. Instrumental Talent
3. Vocal Talent
4. Stage Presence
5. Blues Content

Prize awards to the Winners - The awards include performing at the following confirmed festivals:        

·         BB Blues Festival, Portugal, Beginning of June

Sierre Blues Festival, Switzerland, June

Hondarribia Blues Festival, Spain, July

Santa Maria Blues Festival, Azores Islands, Portugal (July)

·         Blues Peer, Belgium, July

·         Notodden Blues Festival, Norway, August

·         Swing Wespelaar, Belgium, August

·         Blues in Hell, Norway, September

·         Lucerne Blues Festival, Switzerland, November

We are still expecting some more confirmations. Moreover, the prize includes a half-day recording session at the Juke Joint Studio in Notodden during their festival dates.


The 9th edition of the European Blues Challenge is being made possible thru close collaboration with the European Blues Union in conjunction with Associação Escravos da Cadeínha and Trovas Soltas, who both are Active Members of the EBU.

Associação Escravos da Cadeínha was formed on 22 July 2002. This association was created in order to promote and encourage sporting and cultural initiatives. It also promotes the main Blues festival in Portugal, the Santa Maria Blues, with its 15th Edition in summer 2018. The festival has presented artists like Mr. Sipp, Diunna Greenleaf, Ana Popovic, Popa Chubby, and many others.

The festival is produced by Trovas Soltas established in January 2007 at Porto. Its growing resume already comprises several festivals, namely Matosinhos em Jazz, Gaia Jazz, Gaia Blues, Santa Maria Blues, Seia Jazz & Blues, Évora Jazz & Blues, Évora Folk, Arte Fora do Sítio, Lisbon Blues Fest, Festival Vilar de Mouros 2014, as well as several summer concerts. Trovas Soltas has also produced "Tanto Mar, Tanta Música", the opening concert for the application of the University of Coimbra for the title of World Heritage. A tribute concert to B.B. King, featuring Shirley King, was held at Sabrosa in 2016






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22 countries will be represented by these good bands during an amazing and unforgettable Challenge you don’t have to miss!!

Listen to them at




Somerset Barnard Band


Delta Blues crosses in a scabby way with the Tex-Mex-Aussie-roots of a reckless globetrotter. Somerset Barnard was touring through Australia and the USA before he decided to throw everything away and travel the world. 

Somerset can be found playing anywhere from the streets of a Senegalese Village to the stage of an International Festival. His musical adventures have even led him to a play a part in a Bollywood Movie and work as a Sherpa in the Himalayas

Since 2 years, he is now based in Vienna. His last album ‘The Atlas Moth’, released in February 2016, brings together influences from his four years of travelling. The exciting new album ‘Trains & Churches’ was recorded in January 2018 together with Austria's music greats like Ernst Molden, Marlene Lacherstorfer und Ivo Thomann, all in analog at the Cselley Mühle in Burgenland, Austria.

Somerset Barnard - vocals, guitar

Marlene Lacherstorfer - bass           

Ivo Thomann - drums                    

John Williams - keyboards               








Black Cat Biscuit


One day, everything comes together…

Mark (Monday Lovers, Six-pack) and Yasser (Six-Pack) played music together for as long as anyone can remember. Thanks to their daughters, Patrick (Big Mama's Kitchen, Elmore D, RhythmBombs) got to know Yasser, his fellow villager, better. Patrick on the other hand was musically linked to Stanley (Dr. Rhythm, Phil Bee & The Buzztones, Love Veins, Rhythm Bombs) and during guest appearances in their shows, Jeffrey (Belgium’s got Talent, Festeyn) turned out to be more than ready for following the drumming footsteps of his father. In 2015 it all came together and the band Black Cat Biscuit was born.

No well-trodden paths or worn out covers with Black Cat Biscuit, but a surprising, sometimes foxy cocktail of fresh songs, marinated in a special gumbo hot sauce, brought by five driven musicians! Black Cat Biscuit plays a conjuring gig that you should not miss, after having seen it, nothing will ever be the same!

Bart 'Yasser' Arnauts: lead vocals, guitar

Patrick ‘P. Daddy Alley’ Indestege: backing vocals double bass, el. bass, washboard

Jeffrey 'Jr' Gijbels: drums

Stanley Patty: lead guitar 

Mark 'Mighty Mark' Sepanski: backing vocals, blues harp






Tomislav Goluban Band


Tomislav Goluban, Croatian blues musician, composer, harmonica player and a singer, is quite unique by his expression. With his passion, sense of humour and catchy appearance, he can really afford your audience an interesting and original show. He's been playing his harp inspired by old school masters like Sonny Terry or Slim Harpo. So far, he has released ten studio albums and won couple of national music awards. His music is combination of old delta, country & Chicago blues mixed with zydeco and world music elements.

Tomislav Goluban: harmonica, vocal

Hrvoje Funda: guitar, backing vocal

Vjekoslav Geček: bass, backing vocal

Krunoslav Zver: keyboards, trumpet

Dragutin Hojsak: drums




Trainman Blues


Trainman Blues is the brainchild of Irish singer/songwriter Richard Farrell and bass player/producer Laust Nielsen. Winner of the 'Best Blues Album' at this year's Danish music awards and winner of the Danish Blues Challenge, they have steadily gathered steam in the last year and a half. Richard is from a classical background with roots in blues, soul and folk while Laust comes from a blues, reggae and hip-hop background, having been a session bass player in the scene for over 15 years. Combining their strengths, Laust's visions and ear for productions with Richard's melodies and lyrics, makes Trainman Blues such a strong force. Joining them in a live setting are guitarist Joachim Svensmark and drummer Thomas Crawfurd (who features on the album). Joachim is one of Denmark's and Copenhagen's best kept secrets, a child prodigy, he was accompanied by his father to jams at the local Blue club Mojo's from the age of 14. He plays his own solo music and recently he has been playing with the likes of Thørbjorn Risager. Thomas is an incredibly musical and thoughtful drummer, creating beautiful layers with the use of different shakers and percussion. He plays with Fried Okra Band and has played with the likes of Gene Taylor.

Richard Farrell - Vocals/Guitar

Laust Nielsen - Bass Guitar

Joachim Svensmark - Guitar

Thomas Crawfurd – Drums





Hilbert’s Problems


Hilbert’s Problems is a blues-rock band from Tallinn, Estonia. Five members of the band are united together with love for old-school blues and rock music. The passion for creating and performing together has kept the band in scene since 2014. Hilbert's Problems play their own songs, aiming to offer listeners a variety of music from mellow blues to passionate rock! 

Siim  Türnpuu, vocals

Indrek  Paavo, guitar 

Ivo  Lõiv, guitar

Tanel  Assmann, bass

Joonas  Peensalu, drums






Jo’ Buddy & Down Home King III feat. Nieminen


Finnish singer-songwriter-guitarist Jo' Buddy celebrates his 37th year on the road and brings to EBC 2019 his trio line up, his long time drummer wizard Down Home King III and the great Sami "Cantor" Nieminen on the Hammond organ completing the jubilee.

They deliver an exceptional Soul'N'Roll Gumbo that has been cooked with all natural ingredients like blues, rhythm & blues, gospel androck'n'roll.

Years on the road have honed them into a world-class combo with soulful expression and irresistibly greasy grooves. Be ready for this uplifting experience!

Jo' Buddy: Lead vocals, Electric guitar

Sami "Cantor" Nieminen: Hammond organ, backing vocals 

Down Home King III: Drums, backing vocals 







Elise & The Sugar Sweets


Elise and The Sugarsweets is a merge of a young talented woman, Elise, and of a strong French Blues Band, The Sugarsweets. Elise and The Sugarsweets join in the musical vein of Blues & Soul and propose a set list organized around original and cover songs. It originality rests on the "organic" sound which emerge from this band, but also the freshness, the energy and the sensibility of its young artist singer, Elise. Elise and The Sugarsweets is the Blues & Soul musical vein!

Blues, Soul, Rhythm and Blues… We could review all the influences of the group.

Here, there are no labels, the music above all! The originality rests on the "organic" sound which gets free of this band but also the freshness and the sensibility of her young singer.

With only a double decade, Elise’s voice and feeling make her one of the most charming singers of the current scene. Artist with multiple influences, she delivers during every gig a mesmerizing and communicative energy.

The Sugar Sweets is a robust combo formed by the guitarist Olivier Raymond, accompanied by his two accomplices, Jérôme and OlivierFerrie, bass and drum. This trio explored for more than 10 years the French, European and international scenes (stages), from Memphis toJuvisy-sur-Orge, from Riga to Bourg-la-Reine. They are joined in this adventure by Bala Pradal pianist and organist recognized in Rhythm & Blues and the Soul music to make roar out the Hammond organ.

Elise and The Sugar Sweets, it is a clashing cocktail of Blues, Soul and Rhythm & Blues. Uh! For labels it is missed …

Elisa Heyte - Lead Vocals

Olivier Raymond - Guitar & backing vocals

Bala Pradal - Hammond Organ

Olivier Ferrier - Drums

Jérôme Ferrier – Bass



Richie Arndt & Band


Richie Arndt’s big passion is the blues and American roots music. The guitarist, singer and songwriter is to be known all over the place in the German music scene. For four decades he has played with band and solo in the clubs and at festivals all over Europe, has meanwhile published 16 albums and is definitely not a youngster anymore, but an old-stager in the local blues-scene. Amongst others, his experience, talent and presence on stage brought him the honour of “Best Contemporary Blues Artist 2015” and he has been awarded at the “German Blues Award” 2016 (best album) and 2018 (best vocals/male). The newly formed Richie Arndt Band with Sascha Oeing on bass & Peter Weissbarth on drums will represent Germany at the “International Blues Challenge” in Memphis in 2019 and at the “European Blues Challenge” on the Azores 2019. A great honour for this German bluesman from East Westphalia

Richie Arndt - guitar / vocals

Sascha Oeing - bass / backing vocals

Peter Weissbarth - drums / backing vocals

Tine Vonhoegen - backing vocals





Sakis Dovolis Power Trio

Sakis Dovolis is a blues/rock guitar player, singer and songwriter from Greece. Undoubtedly, his name belongs to the list with the best Blues/Rock guitarists in the Balkans. On 2013, Sakis formed his “solo artist’ project named “SD Power Trio”. Combining the fundamentals of Blues with a more aggressive and modern sound, the band is often referred as a heavy blues/rock band. He is also known for their powerful shows and high energy stage appearance, elements that keep the audiences fully satisfied. Sakis was recently signed by the American Recording Label Grooveyard Records NY, and his debut album "Cross The Line" is coming out worldwide on November 23rd

Sakis Dovolis - Guitar, Vocals

Fotis Dovolis - Bass, Back Vocals

Nick Kalivas - Drums, Back Vocals





György Ferenczi and The Rackajam


A Hungarian professional group playing a shockingly interesting fusion of 21st century urban folk music and traditional genres. An indefinite blend of Rock n' Roll, Soul, Blues and of course the band is showcasing many alternatives and remarkable own renditions of their native music.

Rackajam is among the most popular and looked-after acts on the Hungarian and Eastern European scene today! The founder of the band is György Ferenczi whose diatonic harmonica (blues-harp) sound is highly acclaimed across Europe and his instantly recognizable sound and pure style makes every performance a one-of-a-kind experience!

The band's multi-instrumentalists play mostly acoustic instruments, and while respecting tradition they are easily express and reinvent either in the moment or putting hundreds of hours of work to create albums through laying new national standards for Modern Acoustic music!

György Ferenczi, harmonica, violin, vocals

Ádám Apáti, Wurlitzer electronic piano, bass guitar, vocals

Zsolt Pintér, mandolin, vocals

Gábor Bizják, Wurlitzer electronic piano, french horn, vocals

Miklós Jankó, cajon, vocals




The Drive


Blues and nature addicted, The Drive link the north and the south side of Italy thanks to the fusion of two well- known italian duos: “Angela Esmeralda & Sebastiano Lillo” and “PoorBoys” who play all over from festivals to small clubs, combining passion, energies and skills. They have played together since 2016 and found fertile ground in classics, influenced and inspired by a background full of delta blues, roots, rock and gospel music. Powerful and mesmerizing, The Drive can dig deep and at times they cross genre boundaries

Angela Esmeralda: Vocals

Ste Barigazzi: Vocals, Electric Guitar

Sebastiano Lillo: Electric Guitar

Enry Zanni: Drums+







Heavy Petrol

Heavy Petrol was born in 2011 and when Dan Juchem and Steve Richer decided to join the band and after having played blues covers for a few years, they started composing their own songs with their own lyrics.

For the last 7 years, Heavy Petrol has gained a certain reputation in Luxembourg and participated in major Luxembourg Blues festivals such as "Blues Express" and "Blues and Jazz Rallye". They have played for great artists such as Brother Dedge, Ana Popovic, Junior Mack and many others.

They recorded their album "Petrol Train" in 2017.

The sound of Heavy Petrol has been influenced by artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter or Joe Bonamassa.

Daniel Juchem (drums),

Daniel Kries (bass), 

Gigi Felten (Guitar),

Steve Richer (guitar),

Woody (vocals),

Elise Nunes (vocals).




The Dynamite Blues Band


The Dynamite Blues Band from The Netherlands will take you on a journey with their raw blues and exuberant live performance. The musicians have played together for over 10 years, so get ready for some great chemistry. Their blues is influenced by Texas and Chicagoas well as the more swinging West Coast Blues. They play almost exclusively original songs with the occasional obscure cover from favorites like Sean Costello, Nick Curran or The Red Devils. They’ve released two albums with outstanding reviews, but you really have to see the band live for the real Dynamite-experience!

Wesley van Werkhoven - Bluesharp and singer

Jacob Jan van Duijn - Guitar

Renzo van Leeuwen - Bass

Jan Aandewiel - Drums








Geir Bertheussen Blues Express


Geir Bertheussen Blues Express is a hard working blues band from the northern parts of Norway. The band performs original songs and covers in the Chicago blues tradition, mixed with some boogie and good old rock n´ roll. The frontman, singer and harmonica playerBertheussen is a true bluesman, who has been into the traditional blues for three decades. He has explored the roots during his visits toMississippi and the US, where also the band can look back on several recordings and juke joint gigs.

Geir Bertheussen is celebrating a 30 year anniversary as a recording and performing artist in 2018. His band, Blues Express, features Kai-Sverre “Sugar Kay” Fjellberg on guitars, Trond Hansen on the bass, and Kåre “Lefty” Amundsen on drums. In the EBC the line-up will also include keyboard player Rune Karlsen.

Geir Bertheussen: vocal/harmonica

Kai-Sverre Fjellberg: guitar/vocal

Rune Karlsen: keys

Trond Hansen: bass

Kaare Amundsen: drums



The Smooth Gentlemen

The Smooth Gentlemen are three veteran musicians from the Polish music scene. Their music is a blend of Blues and Soul. Sometimes smooth sometimes explosive, but always energetic! The band consists of Bartek Szopinski, (acclaimed pianist, Hammond organist, composer, 11 times winner of “Pianist of the year” statuette awarded in the “Blues TOP” survey, Milosz Szulkowski - drums, and Piotr Bienkiewicz - guitar. This combination of musicians is an exciting new band with lots of depth and experience.

Bartek Szopinski, piano, Hammond

Piotr Bienkiewicz, guitar

Milosz Szulkowski, drums












Delta Blues Riders


Delta Blues Rides are from Oporto and with a truly appealing repertoire, these four musicians reinvent the sonorities that originated the blues (Mississippi) until today, where the constant dialogues between guitar, piano, harmonica and resonator, allied to a strong interaction with the public, make them one of the finest and most complete Blues bands in Portugal, gathering a complete set of Blues traditional instruments: Harp, Piano, Resonator Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass and Double Bass, Drums; ... all in a band with just 4 members!

Considered to be some of the best blues musicians in Portugal, they have played with major international names such as: Pat "Mother Blues" Cohen (New Orleans), Diunna Greenleaf (Texas), Slam Allen (New York), Connie Lush (Uk), Zakiya Hooker (daughter of John Lee Hooker) and Mable John (Ray Charles singer).

Paulo Veloso: lead vocals, piano, acoutic guitar, resonator guitar

Jorge Loura: electric guitar

Ricardo Melo: bass

Miguel Pardal: drums.

Rares Totu’s Midnight Sun


Rares Totu and Cosmin Farcas may work together since 2006 but the story between drummer Adi Tetrade and Rares goes way back to the 80s. Elected Guitar Player of the Year in Romania in 1987 and Best New Guitarist in Hungary in 1992, Rares Totu had always a foot in the blues no matter which way the stylistic winds blew. Along with Adrian Tetrade, one of the most respected musicians in the country, the band is completed by seasoned bass player Alin Neagoe from Tetrade's own pop outfit "The Humans" and long time collaboratorCosmin Farcas on keyboards. Singer Aminda Nomade is one of the best voices around and a captivating front figure.


Aminda Nomade - vocals

Rares Totu - guitar

Cosmin Farcas- keys

Alin Neagoe - bass

Adrian Tetrade – drums





Slovakia (SK):

Tony Bigmouth Pearson 


Tony Bigmouth Pearson (Stefan Uhrinak) is a singer-songwriter and guitarist from Slovakia.

As a teenager, he spent some time in the USA, the stage name ‘Pearson’ pays homage to his relatives who helped him buy his first electric guitar.

His remarkable originals are greatly influenced by North American blues and acoustic folk and are enhanced by rich baritone vocals. Present day social and political processes are reflected in his lyrics. In many instances he composes musical interpretations of poetry.

In 2017, he was awarded the songwriter's prize for ‘Best Composition’ at the Bratislava Music Competition. In 2018, he won the Slovakian Blues Challenge and is currently touring in Central Europe.

Stefan Uhrinak – guitar and vocals












Big Yuyu


Big Yuyu was formed in 2006 in Mallorca, Spain, one of the most beautiful places in the Mediterranean. Mallorca is not only known for its tourist appeal, which blossomed in the 60’s, but also because of its vibrant live music scene, where the Blues plays a big role. Since their inception, the band is proud to say that it´s got more than 3000 hot blues nights under its belt, having played in the best clubs and festivals around Spain, and also touring Germany and Holland. This is a band made up by musicians who love what they do every night, making music with soul and passion. The rock-solid rhythm section formed by Esteve Huguet on drums and Juan Amaro on bass supports Jordi Álvarez´s unique guitar and vocal skills, filling the air with reminiscences of the legends of the Blues, but always with that personal touch that should give Big Yuyu a hard-earned spot in the European Blues Scene! The band fourth studio album is a new trip back to the roots, however this time with a great wealth of experience acquired on the road, resulting in a sound unlike other bands: unique, personal, powerful… all showcased in a live show that will thrill everyone.
Jordi Alvarez, guitar, vocals
Juan Amaro, bass
Esteve Huguet, drums





Marino Valle Band


Marino Valle has for many years been singing old school Rhythm & Blues and Soul with bands such as Big Band Splash, Gugge Hedrenius Big Blues Band and The Soulmates. Marino Valle Band was formed in the spring of 2017. Marino is accompanied by musicians who played with Peps Persson, Sven Zetterberg, Patricia Page & The Prophets and Franska Trion among others. The band offers swinging up-tempo songs and gorgeous soul music in a mix of original material and covers.

Marino Valle - Vocals and harmonica

Mikael Fahleryd - Electric Bass

Magnus Hjorth - Drums

Henrik Pilen Pilquist - Electric Guitar

Arvid Hill - Keyboards











Manu Hartmann & The City Blues Band

Swiss singer Manu Hartmann is well-known in the local Blues scene of Switzerland. 
With her expressive voice and impressive stage presence, Manu is attracting much attention since some time (performing with Chicago Dave Blues Band; St. Louis Blues Band; etc. amongst others).

In 2013 Manu teams up with French guitarist Claude Groelly (WAAP; Blues Print) and formed the “Manu Hartmann & the City Blues Band“. Manu and Claude did agree at once... a groovy repertoire, distinguished musicians and a rich brass sound are a must.

The piece formation is playing modern urban blues enriched with a lot of soul and funk elements.

Their own songs are written by Manu and Claude and relate to the style of Etta James or Dalbert Mc Clinton.

Their first studio album will be released in spring 2019.

Manu Hartmann and her City Blues Band are wowing the audience with their dynamic stage performance every time!

Manu Hartmann vocals
Claude Groelly guitar
Stephan Schätti drums
Denis Flaig Bass
Shanky Wyser keys/organ
Christoph Huber trhombone
Thierry Kaufmann saxophone
Marko Frank trumpet




United Kingdom:

Kyla Brox Quartet


Blues and soul become inextricably entwined in Kyla Brox, whose raw talent has seen her described as “the finest British female blues singer of her generation”. From beginning her career as a teenager in her father’s Blues band, to touring all over the world fronting the mighty Kyla Brox Band, and her nominations in the Best Female Vocalist and English Blues Act categories in the UK Blues Awards 2018, Kyla’s star continues to shine more brightly every year. Her band, featuring the subtle, melodic guitar of Paul Farr and the dynamic rhythm section of Danny Blomeley and Mark Warburton, is the perfect setting for her voice to soar. With the release of her critically acclaimed album, ”Throw Away Your Blues”, Kyla sealed her place as the Queen of British Blues.

Kyla Brox, Vocals/flute

Paul Farr, guitar

Danny Blomeley, bass guitar

Mark Warburton, drums






The EBC 2019 playing order was determined by a raffle in the latest board meeting in Amsterdam:


Friday 5 April

Hungary:                György Ferenczi and The Rackajam

Portugal:                Delta Blues Riders

Belgium:                 Black Cat Biscuit

Romania:                Rares Totu's Midnight Sun

Estonia:                  Hilbert’s Problems

Poland:                   The Smooth Gentlemen

Spain:                      Big Yuyu

Norway:                  Geir Bertheussen Blues Express

Switzerland:           Manu Hartmann & the City Blues Band
Germany:                Richie Arndt Band

France:                    Elise & The Sugar Sweet


Saturday 6 April

Italy:                       The Drive

Croatia:                  Tomislav Goluban Band

Denmark:               Trainman Blues

United Kingdom:   Kyla Brox Quartet

Finland:                  Jo’ Buddy & Down Home King III feat. Nieminen

Luxembourg:         Heavy Petrol

Slovakia:                Tony Bigmouth Pearson 

Greece:                  Sakis Dovolis Power Trio

Netherlands:         The Dynamite Blues Band
Austria:                  Somerset Barnard Band

Sweden:                 Marino Valle Band


Our distinguished Awarding Festivals will recognize the winners by booking them for their festivals.







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Finalizado el proceso de selección de los concursantes españoles han resultado como mas votados los mallorquines BIG YUYU. En segunda posición se han clasificado BIG DANI PÉREZ BAND y en tercera Q & THE MOONSTONES. ¡Muchas felicidades a los selecionados y a todos los participantes!

La Novena edición del European Blues Challenge se realizará en las Islas Azores (Portugal), en el Coliseu Micaelense de Ponta Delgada - S. Miguel, entre las fechas 4, 5 y 6 de abril de 2019.
En el mismo emplazamiento está previsto que tenga lugar también el European Blues Market, un lugar de encuentro y promoción entre los aficionados y profesionales del género.

Big Yuyu se formó en 2006 en Mallorca, uno de los lugares más hermosos del Mediterráneo. Mallorca no sólo es conocida por su atractivo turístico, que floreció en los años 60, sino también por su vibrante escena musical de música en directo, donde el blues juega un papel importante.
Desde su creación, la banda se enorgullece de decir que desde su fundación lleva a sus espaldas mas de 3000 conciertos de blues, habierndo actuado en los mejores clubes y festivales de todo España, y también recorrer Alemania y Holanda.
La banda está formada por músicos que aman la música que interpretan con alma y pasión.
La sólida sección rítmica incluye a Esteve Huguet en la batería y Juan Amaro al bajo, que dan el mejor soporte para hacer brillar la guitarra y las habilidades vocales de Jordi Álvarez, impregnando sus canciones con reminiscencias de las leyendas del blues, pero siempre con ese toque personal que confiere a los Big Yuyu de un estilo personal y un espacio propio en la escena española y europea del blues.
El grupo ha grabao su cuarto álbum de estudio que se convierte en nuevo viaje de retorno a las raíces, con una gran riqueza musical, gracias a la experiencia adquirida en la carretera, lo que da como resultado un sonido único, personal y de gran recorrido que les diferencia de otras bandas: único, personal, de gran alcance y de enorme poderió en el escenario.

Mucha suerte a BIG YUYU y gracias a todas las formaciones que han participado en el proceso de seleccion.






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La 9º edición del European Blues Challenge se realizará en las Islas Azores (Portugal), en el Coliseu Micaelense de Ponta Delgada – S. Miguel, el 4, 5 y 6 de abril de 2019. En el mismo emplazamiento está previsto que tenga lugar también el European Blues Market.


Los tickets para el evento europeo ya están a la venta en:

Mas información en

El proceso de selección de los concursantes que representarán a España se realizará con la ayuda del CONSEJO DE ASESORES y bajo la supervisión de la Societat de Blues de Barcelona.
Las formaciones musicales que deseen ser candidatas a concursar en el EBC2019 deberán leer con detenimiento las BASES DEL CONCURSO, seguir con el protocolo descrito en las mismas y comprometerse a cumplir con los requisitos especificados.
El plazo para inscribirse será entre los días 3 de septiembre y 12 de octubre 2018 en








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The readers of Polish magazine Twój Blues have voted and selected the European Blues Challenge 2017 (Horsens, Denmark) “The Blues Event Of Year 2017” in their annual poll

The Gala Ceremony took place on 28 April at the Chorzów Cultural Center as part of the festival "Bluestracje" with an attractive line-up of artists. In addition to unique performances (winners played not with their regular bands, but with other winners), this year edition of the Gala Awards also celebrated its 15th, anniversary.

Board members Pertti and Roser travelled to Chozów (Poland) to receive the award. The European Blues Union feels really honored for this recognition. We thank the excellent Twój Blues magazine and especially its readers for the award and congratulate the Bluestracje Festival and especially the Matysik family for the amazing organization.





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It was an amazing week end in Hell (Norway), meeting so many people. We really enjoyed the superb organization, the three excellent days of blues and also of friendship and joyful meetings with friends coming from all over Europe.

We could see a high level European Blues Challenge with excellent bands, artists and musicianship coming from all over Europe. We want to express our big thanks and congratulate winners and all participants.

With the Blues Behind the Scenes Awards we wanted to recognize selected European individuals and organizations that have worked actively and made significant contributions in the past to advance the blues in Europe. This year the EBU awarded Maiju Lasola representing Blues News Magazine, Finland in Media category, Thomas Ruf (Ruf Records GermanyI in Production category and Louis Van Haef (Peer Blues Festival (Belgium) in Promotion category. It was also given an special award for his outstanding contribution to Jean Guillermo (France Blues Society).

Blues Behind The Scenes Ceremony
Maiju Lasola (Blues News Mag. Finland), Thomas Ruf (Ruf Records Germany), Louis Van Haef (Peer Blues FestivalI) & Jean Guillermo (France Blues). Photos By Christophe Losberger

The European Blues Expo this year presented the posters of last EBC editions as well as beautiful blues related paintings by Danuta Matysik. The successful Blues Market in now consolidated as a unique opportunity to establish lots of new contacts and relationships.

Blues Market

Moreover, new project ideas were brought up at the General Assembly to be considered and implemented as future activities of the EBU. We were really honored to receive the Keeping The Blues Alive Award from Barbara Newman, president of The Blues Foundation in Memphis, that recognizes the EBU for its task to promote blues in Europe.

EBU General Assembly. EBU Board receiving the KBA Award

Some of us also enjoyed on Thursday the opening blues night with a Norwegian Blues Showcase featuring the two previous Norwegian EBC winners Rita Engedalen (2012) and Eric Slim Zahl (2016)

Congratulations to the local organizers in Hell for such an amazing organization!

Also our big congratulations to THE RAGTIME RUMOURS (Netherland), 2018 EBC Winners! Also congratulations to FRIED OKRA (Denmark) and VITOR BACALHAU (Portugal), second and third classified!!

The Ragtime Rumours (Netherland), Fried Okra (Denmark) & Vitor Bacalhau (Portugal),
Winners, second & third classified at EBC 2018. Photo by Christophe Losberger

The Ragtime Rumours (Netherland), winners of the EBC 2018 in Hell (Norway)

Besides receiving this magnificent recognition the winners are awarded performing at the following festivals:

• Blues in Hell, Norway
• Hondarribia Blues Festival, Spain
• Lucerne Blues Festival, Switzerland
• Notodden Blues Festival, Norway
• Sierre Blues Festival, Switzerland
• Swing Wespelaar. Belgium

Moreover, their prize includes a half-day recording session at the Juke Joint Studio in Notodden.

A special mention to our Spanish representants JOHNNY BIG STONE & THE BLUES WORKERS who, although some sound problems, did a great show too and were really recognized during the jam session after Challenge first night!!

Personally speaking I really enjoyed the shows by Ed & Gators from Belgium,
Joakim Tinderholt & His Band from Norway, Dobre Rano Blues Band from Czeck Republic and Vitor Bacalhau from Portugal, but tastes are always very different and it must be pointed out that all participants did excellent high level performings to satisfy totally different blues sensibilities.

Of you were not able to attend the Challenge and you want to listen or download a song of all participant bands, please visit or

With the amazing days spent on Hell still in mind, you are already looking forward to next year Challenge in Azores!!!






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14 November 2017

The Blues Foundation has just announced the 2018 Keeping the Blues Alive Award Recipients and, as EBU board member, me and the rest of the board, are extremely proud and happy to announce that the Blues Union is one of them!

In conjunction with the 2018 International Blues Challenge, The Blues Foundation will honor 12 individuals and organizations with its 2018 Keeping the Blues Alive Awards during a recognition luncheon Friday, January 19, 2018 beginning at 11 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee.
The EBU will be proudly represented by our President, Davide Grandi.

As determined by a select panel of blues professionals, the KBA Awards are presented annually, honoring those who make significant contributions to the genre.

Other 2018 Keeping the Blues Alive Awards recipients are:

Gary and Gillian Atkinson
Jonas Bernholm
Blues Society of Omaha
Byron Bay Blues Festival
Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival
Lucky Clark
Tim Fik
Brian Kelm
Poor House Bistro
Albertina Wassenhove
Rueben Williams

More info:







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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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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).

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 

Alain Hiot (França)
Sylvie Bosc (França)
Pertti Nurmi (Finlàndia)
Roser I.Valls (Espanya)
Charlie Hussey (Irlanda)
Fred Delforge (França)
SKAttomaTTO (Itàlia)
Bad Music Blues

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
(Texto. Montserrat Pratdesaba)

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)

Fondo de Blues / Blues Documentos Unión Europea
AvDA. Josep Tarradellas, 44.
08901 L’Hospitalet de Llobregat. Barcelona (Spain)
Tel.: 00.03.4932602484 

Alain Hiot (França)
Sylvie Bosc (França)
Pertti Nurmi (Finlàndia)
Roser I.Valls (Espanya)
Charlie Hussey (Irlanda)
Fred Delforge (França)
SKAttomaTTO (Itàlia)
Bad Music Blues

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
(Texto. Montserrat Pratdesaba)

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2016 European Blues Challenge, GA, Blues Market, Blues Expo & BBS Awards (Torrita di Siena)

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

- 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, 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