Friday 8 March:
20:00 GZT (LV)
20:50 The Bluesmopolitans (AT)
21:15 Dealta Roosters (BG)
22:05 Babajack (UK)
22:30 Sunnysiders (CR)
22:55 Chino & The Big Bet (ES)
23:45 Hideaway (BE)
Saturday 9 March:
20:00 Honey B & T-Bones (FI)
20:25 Shaggy Dogs (FR)
21:15 Fabian Anderhub (CH)
22:05 Soul Serenade (RO)
22:55 Harpcore (PL)
00:10 end of competition
Ca. 00:30 announcement of the winner
00:30 – 01:00 performance of the winner
01:00 jam session of all musicians (open end)
These 20 acts have been selected by national competitions/elections in each country. Ten acts will perform Friday 8 March, and ten more acts will follow on Sat 9 march. The shows will start 8 pm each night @Le Bikini, Rue Théodore Monod, Parc Technologique du Canal, 31520 Ramonville-Saint-Agne, France.
Each act will perform for 20 min, followed by a 5 min change over for the next act. Total showtime approx. 4 hours. The winner will be announced Saturday around midnight at the end of the show. The winner will do another short performance followed by a jam session all night long. Two nights packed with the best blues from all around Europe!
Throughout the years Gints Zilinskis has developed his own boogie-woogie / blues piano style that is both innovative and roots-oriented. Either as a leader of his own various projects or a sideman he is recognized as one of the most creative pianists on the Latvian blues scene. For the last couple of years, Gints has focused primarily on playing solo or in his own Trio format. Recently he invited his long-time collaborators and Latvian blues veterans Artis Orubs (drums), Bruno Priekulis (bass) and Laimis Racenajs (vocals) to form a new combo GZT. The band is currently working on their first studio album.
At the end of 2009, five old-time music players gathered to have fun with a few gigs. The result was so convincing to the point that they decided to form the band “Heavy Petrol & the Greyhounds”. Even today, the members of the group are the same: Mario “Woody” Brown on vocals and harmonica, Conny Troost on drums, Dan Kries on bass, Gigi Felten on guitar, and Dan Eiffener on guitar. These fellows do play blues-infused rock with a modern edge; they also cover songs from well-known artists such as Johnny Winter, Rory Gallagher, Joe Bonamassa, Calvin Russell, Mr. J. Hendrix, Danny Briant, Tadg Galleran, Muddy Waters, Freddie King and many others. With its broad repertoire, the group has participated in many concerts and festivals, such as the Blues Express, the Blues & Jazz Rally, and others.
The release of the debut album “Bluesmopolitans“ made a loud buzz in the Austrian music scene and of course especially in the Austrian blues scene. Presenting their new album as part of the Vienna Blues Spring Festival 2012 was just the beginning for the band, and as a result the Bluesmopolitans gave concerts in Austria and Germany. The guys keep working hard and play lots of live gigs. A new single will be part of their journey to Toulouse (EBC). Bluesmopolitans reach a high level of diversity in their own songs and they have a great hand in bringing in the right covers from blues greats with a modern spirit on stage. Although the band has a great respect for the roots of blues music, it seems that their natural appearance is bringing back a younger audience to their shows.Singer Tommy Gravogl is a roots man with a very smooth and at the same time powerful voice. A young singer together with some elder routiniers of the Vienna blues scene make up a thrilling combination.
Rediscovering the authentic sounds of the old masters of the blues, Delta Roosters convey the sincerity and the feeling of the Delta blues music. The incredible harmonica of the Finnish maestro Eero Turkka, the gentle guitar of Peter Georgiev – Pesheto, the passionate voice of the lead vocalist Anton Serkedjiev and the beautiful sound of the dobro guitar of Mihail Shishkov recreate uniquely the Delta Blues atmosphere music nowadays. Each of the musicians has his own background in different music projects and styles but the love and passion for the blues makes Delta Roosters a unique personal experience. The group was set up in 2011 as an acoustic blues project and appeared on stage for the first time at the Sofia Blues Meeting, October 2011. Since then Delta Roosters has had a regular presence on the Bulgarian blues scene.
Yngve and his Boogie Legs is a Norwegian blues band consisting of five members aged 22 years and living in Oslo. The band consists of Bjørnar Ekse Brandseth on guitar and vocals, Lars Finborud on harmonica and guitar, Yngve Jordalen on bass, Morten Bessesen on percussion, and Anders Fretheim on drums. They began as a cover band in 2008 and have gradually started writing their own music inspired by artists like Muddy Waters and Ronnie Earl, T-Bone Walker and The Rolling Stones. Still, this is no retro band. Few other bands are this determined to carry on the deep traditions of the genre while insisting to breathe new life into it and develop their own style and sound. In the past two years, Yngve and his Boogie Legs have clearly positioned themselves in Norway as an outstanding live band, and they have succeeded in capturing the same energy and intensity on tape. They won the Union Blues Cup 2011at the annual Notodden Blues Festival. For this reason, the Norwegian Blues Union gave them the opportunity to tour Norway in 2012.
BabaJack is an acoustic blues/roots band that is fast becoming one of the most sought after bands on the roots, acoustic and blues festival circuits in the UK and they are moving into Europe. Their sound is ‘infused with blues, but not limited by it’ (ElectricGhost) and combines the powerful roots percussion and vocals of Becky Tate, the slide style and growling ‘winebox’ guitars and rack harp of Trevor Steger and they are joined by Marc Miletitch on double bass. And they groove! Trevor and Becky are the songwriting core of BabaJack. They completely co-write all their material. Their sound is influenced by the early blues ethos of playing homemade instruments: the semi-acoustic ‘winebox’ guitars, the Becky’s cajon (box drum) and the stomp, were all made by Trevor. BabaJack has released three albums so far: “The Maker” (2009), “Exercising Demons” (2010), and their latest “Rooster” in 2012. They are currently working on a 4th album, which is planned for release in 2013.
Sunnysiders started as a solo-duo (Anthony Vrgoc, or Ro La, on vocals, guitar and percussion and Boris Hrepic, or Hrepa, on guitar, vocals, ukulele and harmonica) at the 2nd Croatian Blues Challenge in 2010. After they won in the solo-duo category they played at the 27th International Blues Challenge in Memphis in February 2011. In Memphis, they made it to the semifinals. In the summer of 2011, Sunnysiders recorded their first album with their original songs, titled “Licence to Blues”, when Goran Gubic (Hans) on electric guitar and Igor Paradis (Sparka) on cajon have joined the band. “Licence to Blues” was nominated for Porin (the Croatian Grammy) for the best blues album. They have played the opening acts to Johnny Winter, Eric Noden and Joe Filisko, and performed at a number of blues festivals.
Chino Hernán Senra is a vocalist and a guitarist like no other. His style on the slide guitar is absolutely unique. He goes from blues to swing and even jazz manouche, always with his own personal stamp. He is one of the main characters on the Barcelona Swing and Blues scene. Chino & The Big Bet, complete with Rod Deville on double bass and Guillermo ”Giggs” Nother on drums, are one of the most active blues bands in Spain. Their new album “Six” is the first release of a trilogy. In this first edition, there are six original songs that truly reflect the essence of the group.
Peter “Bonzo“ Radványi – the veteran of the Slovak music scene, singer, resophonic guitar player and journalist started his music career in the sixties. He spent the next two decades as a professional musician playing with various dance bands across Europe. When he returned to his home town Trnava in the 90’s he focused mainly on the blues music. Bonzo became the frontman of The Blues Mother-in-Law band, with which he did a lot of gigs and took part at various festivals in Slovakia and abroad. Bonzo was voted the “Bluesman of the Year“ in 1996 and together with The Blues Mother-in-Law he was awarded the “Annual Prize“ of the Slovak Blues Society for recording the first ever concert CD in the history of Slovak blues in 1998. On top of that, Bonzo was co-founder, Executive Director and dramatist of the International music festival Dobrofest – Trnava (1992-2008). At present, he is the author and presenter of the regular weekly music sessions “Bluesnenie“ and “Big Beat“ on the Slovak radio station Devin. He is currently touring with another well-known Slovak bluesman Lubos Bena, who accompanies him on drums and rhythm guitar.
In 1986 four young men decided to form a blues band and called it “Hideaway” (a title by Freddie King). These young men were Eric Vandekerckhove on bass and backing vocals, Jean Marie Herman on lead guitar, Johan Guidée on drums, and Ralph Bonte on lead vocals, rhythm and slide guitar. In the last 26 years they have moved from being mere local heroes to stipulating the blues all over Flanders. And that ain’t all. They have conquered the whole country and crossed borders to neighboring countries (France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Spain) and even to Canada. Over the years, they have opened for and accompanied many American blues artists. In 1998 they were joined by saxophone player Geeraard De Grootte, and in 2000 the band was completed with Hammond and keyboard player Patrick Cuyvers. The band has released four CDs so far; three of these are studio albums and one is a live album. Their third CD is titled “Unable To label” proving that they cannot be placed in any single category -blues, gospel, country, jazz, soul-funk, roots,… you name it.
No run-of-the-mill grind, but a heady cocktail, where the best psychedelic elements from the1960’s San Francisco meet Mississippi blues in a garage, with serious intentions. The fat bass lines of Aija “Honey B” Puurtinen and Jaska Lukkarinen’s funky, rich drumming build a house where Esa Kuloniemi’s fiery and earthy slide takes no prisoners. The cherry on the cake comes courtesy of Honey B’s singing. Think updated Memphis Minnie and you’re close. Blues is not for teenagers, it comes out of life experience. After large-scale touring, often all over Europe and North America, T-Bones know the ropes. In the course of fourteen albums, their style has matured from rootsy blues through rocking R&B and psychedelic experimental rock to today’s kaleidoscopic & jazzy blues attitude that fills their current, excellent 30th Anniversary album, “Alive In Helsinki”.
Their motto – “No more barriers between styles!!” – allows the Shaggy Dogs to be a different band, which consists of Jacker on guitar, Red on vocal and harmonica, Guillermo on drums and Toma on bass. Filled with blues, R&R, R&B, and 60’s garage, their shows are based on energy and an exceptional communication with the audience. With over 10 years on the road, hundreds of gigs including a memorable series in Tokyo, tons of encounters and good memories and four albums under their belt, the Shaggy Dogs still bark as wildly as ever. Recognized as one of Europe’s major figures today, everywhere they go it’s a Blues & Roll Fiesta! Their new album “Who Let the Shaggy Dogs Out?” has a rare and powerful vintage tone. A subtle mixture of pride and humility – two core values for Frenchy white rockers who play black music.
Sugar Boy & The Sinners are rockin’ and shakin’ the blues! Representing the younger generation of blues bands from the Netherlands, the band consists of four energetic, young dogs joyfully playing their all-original songs with an old school R&B, R&R and 60’s soul style. Singer Sugar Boy Vielvoye switches with ease from his soulful vocals to steamy, blues harmonica solos. He is assisted by Ronnie Guérin’s in-your-face guitar and the twin-engine, throbbing rhythm section of Vinnie Guérin on double bass and Frankie Duindam on drums. This band creates a danceable, energetic, blues blast for a whole new generation of Blues Sinners.
Fabian Anderhub emigrated with his family as a child from Switzerland to Canada. The guitarist and singer inherited both worlds: city life in Canada and quiet inspiration in Switzerland. Had he not emigrated to Canada, Fabian Anderhub might perhaps never have discovered a passion for blues. His background allows his passion to melt into something new: an uncanny mixture of roots music and zeitgeist blues. He went back to Switzerland after training to be a farmer, and decided it was time to record his passion. In 2010, his debut album ”Left Line“ was released, showing off pure blues rock – dusty, traditional licks played in a modern fashion; up-to-date tone and sound as opposed to nostalgia. With his recent 2011 record ”It’s a Blues Thing“, he explores his ideas even further. As the title suggests, it’s his tribute to the raw and intense roots of his blues attitude, ranging mostly from mid-tempo songs to heartfelt ballads. Besides his own songs, Anderhub interprets blues standards in his own remarkable style. And the third album is coming.
“Old Stories for Modern Times” is the new album of Veronica Sbergia and Max De Bernardi, the irreplaceable souls of Red Wine Serenaders, an ensemble acclaimed by the national press as “the most beautiful European reality in terms of country blues, ragtime, hokum and jugband music”(The Buscadero). The album, entirely acoustic, was recorded in 2011 in mono and mixed on tape through an analog console. You will be surprised to discover the many similarities between the past and the present. Voices, resophonic guitars, washboard, ukulele, mandolin, harmonica and bass will be the guiding stars on a journey through the atmosphere of the Vaudeville, the medicine show, the first brothels of the 1900, and cotton plantations. An irresistible mix of sounds so healthy! Veronica & The Red Wine Serenaders have performed in France, Switzerland, Hungary, Spain, England, Italy and the Caribbean.
Soul Serenade is a band with a young, fresh approach to blues, soul and gospel, always exploring new ideas and emotions through the purest form of music. The three musicians, Adelina Chivu, Andrei Rotariu and Andrei Codrut, have made their way through every scene in every club in their home town of Bucharest, not only by presenting a new take on what blues can sound like, but also by rejuvenating the local music scene. The acoustic blues trio offers a unique blend of slide guitar, vocals, mandolin, harmonica and tambourine that will carry you from the busy streets of Chicago to the dusty roads down south.
If you wonder what mixing traditional blues, funk, R&B, soul, humor, craziness, three great musicians, love and respect might sound like, you have to come to the next Chris Grey & The BlueSpand show! These three gentlemen are Chris Grey on guitar and vocals, Kasper Flufuluc on bass and Lars Vegas on drums. The three gents of Chris Grey & The BlueSpand share their love and joy for playing with music, when they invite you to their musical playground. They live to play, and the music makes them live.
Harpcore consists of Polish blues-rock premier league. Four top harmonica virtuosos – Tomek Kamiński, Michał Kielak, Bartek Łęczycki, and Łukasz Wiśniewski – are supported by two best Polish guitarists (according to Twój Blues magazine): Piotrek Grząślewicz and Jacek Jaguś, as well as an atomic rhythm section: Aleksander Sroka on bass guitar, and Adam Partyka on drums. Harpcore’s first album ”Harmonijkowy Atak” released in 2011, has already won the hearts of fans: they voted it the Best Blues Album of the Year 2011 in the surveys conducted by the most respectable Polish blues media. Harpcore will definitely appeal to those who prefer new solutions in music to cliches. The album combines blues, rock, jazz, and funky into a real music dynamite; at concerts, the super group creates the atmosphere of total fun and excitement
With his fourth studio album “Smiling For A Reason”, singer/saxman Tommy Schneller assembled a band with a powerful horn section which could reproduce the CD faithfully. The group of veteran pros has now won the German Blues Challenge 2012; the German Blues Awards for 2010 and 2012, and the German Recording Critics Prize 2012 went to Tommy personally. The CD reached #14 on the American “Living Blues” chart. This is soulful blues, which owes as much to Memphis and Stax Records as it does to Chicago or Mississippi. DJs playing the recording in the USA and Canada have been amazed to learn that Tommy, whose voice they often compare to Dr. John’s, is German.
Badge consists of three musicians from different backgrounds. Guitarist Matti Norlin, the winner of the Swedish national blues award in 2012, is one of the most interesting interpreters of the early blues. Matti has released four solo albums: “Pre War Blues” (1995), “Kitchen Sink Blues” (1998), “Slidin’ Out” (2002) and “LIVE> Blues 3 Trappor Upp” (2010). He also has a background in Swedish folk music and plays several weird instruments. Versatile drummer Fredrik Haake was based in New York for a period, where he played drums in several acts. Matti and Fredrik formed Badge in 2002 and were joined by versatile bass player Hielm in 2005. The band has picked up elements from as many styles of music as humanly possible (punk, fusion, world, tango, folk, chamber music). Firmly rooted in a blues tradition, but with a high-energy metal approach, they play acoustic guitar, upright bass and drums with so much attitude that should put most bands to shame. The energetic trio Badge has released two albums, the latest one is “Kill Another Fuzz” (2006), and another one is on the way.