9° European Blues Challenge

Finally the 9th European Blues Challenge is approaching! And nex April we will be in The Azores, more precisely in Ponta Delgada, San Miguel. Thanks to the joint organization between Associação dos Escravos da Cadeinha and Trovas Soltasnext April the Blues from Europe will move in the middle of the Ocean!

Associação Escravos da Cadeínha was founded in 2002 to promote and encourage sporting and cultural initiatives. It also promotes the main Blues festival in Portugal, Santa Maria Blues, that during the years presented artists such as like Chris Jagger, Diunna Greenleaf, Albie Donnelly’s Super Charge, Ana Popovic, Popa Chubby, Mr. Sipp, Eric Gales.

The festival is produced by Trovas Soltas established in January 2007 at Porto, a company that organizes several other festivals, such as Gaia Blues, Seia Jazz & Blues, Évora Jazz & Blues, Lisbon Blues Fest, Festival Vilar de Mouros 2014 as well as several summer concerts.

The main EBC event will be held on April 5 and 6, 2019 at Coliseum Micaelense.

So prepare to swim into the European Blues!

Nearest airport is Ponta Delgada. More information here: https://www.santamariablues.com/ebc2019/

And here you can find useful info:

Little Steven Blues School 2018 for EBU Students

Eliza Sicińska sent us this report from the workshops in Little Steven’s Blues School, Notodden 2018
Pola Chobot, Adam Baran, Łukasz Pietrzak and I won the scholarship for young musicians, funded by European Blues Union, allowing us to go to Norway for one-week music workshops in the Little Steven’s Blues School, organized beside the Notodden Blues Festival. These workshops are intended for advanced musicians and they concern a work in the record studio as well as coopration in the band. We came to Notodden on 28th July. 29th was the first day of workshops. Classes started at 9:45 every day and took place in Bok & Blueshuset building. There is also the famous Juke Joint Studio with old, legendary studio equipment with the studio console, on which stars like Elvis Presley recorded in Memphis! Our teachers were Norwegian musicians, connected to the Notodden Blues Festival.
On the first day students were divided into groups to form the bands. Polish group stayed together and we also had Norvegian collegues in our band – Karl and Øyvind.
Every day we had one or two lectures on blues music, songwriting, working in the recording studio or masterclasses with amazing musicians who shared their experience with us. In the meantime, we spend a lot of time in rehearsal rooms with our bands. Our first task was to arrange one of the blues standards with our band. We chose Hendrix’s Voodoo Chile. We also were asked to write our own song altogether as a band and perform it the next day before teachers and the rest of the students. We had the greatest fun writing it and we think it was a big hit!
Our version of the Voodoo Chile was picked among others by Little Steven himself to produce it in the Juke Joint Studio! It was an honor and amazing experience to us.
We also got another appreciation from the teachers. They asked us if we want to open the Notodden Blues Festival with our song! It was a big distinction for us, but unfortunately Pola and Adam had to go back to Poland before the festival started. Well, maybe next time. 🙂
On the fourth evening of workshops in pub Teledølen we all performed what we practiced during our time in Notodden. It was a wonderful concert, every group played really good and every one was different. The original songs were very creative. And everybody cheered for their friends from other bands and were saying nice and warm words about their performances. The atmosphere was friendly and cordial the whole week! The last day of workshops was the first day of the festival at the same time. We had a free access to concerts and we’ve seen an incredible one of Ry Cooder. After midnight concerts had place on the stage in Teledølen and me and Łukasz played a song with local band. After that we went to the airport and came back home… Although we felt like we could stay there forever.
A great thank you to European Blues Union for the amazing opportunity we got from you! This would never be possible for us without the scholarship and I hope more and more young musicians will find out about it and profit from it to the fullest, like we did!

Pinetop Perkins Workshop 2018 for EBU students

Matt Henderson sent us this report from the Pinetop Perkins Foundation Worskhops  in Clarksdale 2018
I was and still am really grateful to you and the EBU for helping to fund the trip. The Pinetop Perkins workshop was unreal, to be surrounded by that much talent, and I feel like it was a pivotal moment for me in my learning of music.
From the moment we parked up at the Hopson Plantation to the final show at Ground Zero, I spent my time absorbing everything. The feeling of being in the Delta, surrounded by cotton fields and some of the best blues musicians around, was something I’ll never forget. The daily workshops with Phil Wiggins were awesome, he’s such a great man and a phenomenal player. His style of teaching worked really well for me, as he’ll get you to figure out most things by yourself when you listen to him; I’m at a stage now where I can generally pick up things by hearing them a couple times, so I really appreciated that he didn’t spend much time laying things out blow by blow, as it were. Phil showed me several tunes like Boodle-Am Shake, CC Rider, and Blackbird that broke me right out of my comfort zone, and the techniques he shared about holding the harp and using your throat for vibrato are things I’ll be working on for years to come. Bob Margolin dropped by a few times to see how we were doing, and having him play guitar to back us up was a privilege.
The nightly jams were like nothing I’d ever done. I’ve played with bands before, and done my share of live shows, but having a stage full of outstanding blues musicians made it feel so natural to get up and lead the band, or just sit back and do my bit as a sideman. I’d go so far as to say that if being able to jam with dozens of great blues musicians didn’t make me a better player in itself, I came away from that feeling so much more confident about my own abilities (which in turn made me play better).
The showcase at the Ground Zero Club in Clarksdale was one of those perfect nights, when everyone is in the groove and feeling loose and just ready to play. Every single band, jam, or improvised set came off brilliantly (thanks in no small part to Jesse Black and Joe Tellmann organising everything). After my main set, as the frontman for the Ground Stompin’ Mardi Gras Goers, I was invited back up to play with Anthony Geraci, Bob Margolin, Guy Smeets, and as part of the All-Star band closing the show. It was a privilege and an honour, and it’s undoubtedly shown me that not only do I have a lot to learn in terms of bandleading and showmanship but that I do have it in me to get up and hold my own amongst some of the living greats in this music. It’s definitely spurred me on in my learning both at home and in performance.
After I came back from the US, people told me I had changed. Not in a dramatic way, but both they and I were amazed by how much my playing and performing had improved in the space of two weeks or so. It was a truly formative experience for me, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of the EBU. Attached, you’ll find a few photos and videos from the trip which I hope can give some insight into what a fantastic experience it was.

Bluesman from France in Bulgaria

Invited by Boris Totev from the Bulgarian Blues Association, French bluesman CadiJo performed in Sofia at the Delta Blues Bar, accompanied by local musicians, on Saturday, November 17th.
As soon as he arrived at the airport, Georgi Dimov, the boss of the Delta Blues Bar welcomed him and during the whole stay, everybody took care of CadiJo with a rare and friendly hospitality. On Friday night, with Boris, they went to a jazz jam at the Jazz Bar. The musicians there had a breathtaking level. Be-bop, swing, Cuban jazz, etc., everything has passed with brilliance, panache, emotion and virtuosity. CadiJo played with them Alligator Bogaloo by Lou Donaldson and it was a real treat.
 
A big thank to Denis Apov (acoustic guitar) for the acoustic part particularly appreciated by the public. All CadiJo gratitude for Miroslav (electric guitar), Axel Yordanov (drums) and Youlian Traykov (bass) for the electric set, which they have mastered and energized the public as it should. His blues in French have received an attentive and warm thanks to these musicians who, not knowing him the day before, knew how to carry my repertoire to the height of his artistic requirement. That’s the blues!
 
CadiJo thanks also go to Georgi Dimov for his welcome in this very nice place that is the Delta Blues Bar and of course to Boris Totev for his availability of all times and the organization of this event, which also allowed to meet with Hungarian harmonica player Andras Kohalmi and other musicians and participants in the jam that followed.

BLUES HEAVEN AWARD

A further recognition this year for the Blues Heaven Festival and for Peter Astrup who, after receiving a Danish Music Award, was again rewarded by the French web-magazine Zicazic for an Award for the Best International Festival 2018. The ceremony took place during the festival and attended by Walter Trout and Paul E. Benjamin from the Blues Foundation and was an opportunity to promote the Blues and  the European Blues Union.

Photo by Jerry T

EBU AT THE SANTA MARIA BLUES FESTIVAL

The Santa Maria Blues Festival that every year is held in the beautiful Santa Maria island in the Azores, this year had the visit of the EBU President, Davide Grandi, that spent three fantastic evenings for its 15th edition.

From July 12th to July 14th the stage was shared by international artist such as Zac Harmon and Eric Gales but also by the EBC 2018 winners, the Ragtime Rumours, that were opening the first night with a terrific set. A detalied interview made by the EBU President at the Ragtime Rumours will appear soon on our website.

The Portugese organization was perfect, even facing a lot of issues due to the location so far in the Atlantic Ocean, but with the good spirit of friendship and collaboration everything was solved and the festival was a big Party! Thanks to Adalberto, Jose and Antonio and we are looking forward for the EBC 2019 in Ponta Delgada, San Miguel island of the Azores!

European Blues Night 2018 Vallemaggia

The result if the strict collaboration between the European Blues Union  and the Vallemaggia Magic Blues Festival, is a special night on July 11th that will be devoted to European Blues Challenge bands, called the European Blues Night!

We hope that this example of supporting the European Blues will be followed by many others Blues Festival!. For info on organizing an European Blues Night please contact info@europeanbluesunion.com.

EBU Blues School 2018 in USA: a success!

Thanks also to the European Blues Union two European students had the opportunity to be invited at the Pinetop Perkins Foundation workshop and really had a great time there!

Guy Smeets and Matt Henderson – Hopson Commissary June 13, 2018

This fantastic experience, lived by Guy Smeets and Matt Henderson, has been possible thanls tp The Pinetop Perkins Foundation and the Dutch Blues Foundation. Another mission accomplished of our Blues For Youth program!!

EBU at the UK Blues Awards

The EBU president was invited by the UK Blues Federation at the UK Blues Awards 2018 ceremony that took place at the Worthing Pier last May 19th .

Kaz Hawkins, 2017 European Blues Challenge winner, received an Award for the category Blues Act of the Year – Northern Ireland

As one of the main projects of the EBU is the Blues For Youth program, our president, Davide Grandi, together with Ian Siegal that was awarded also as Male Blues Vocalist Of The Year and Acoustic Blues Act Of The year, had the honour to give the award as Young Blues Artist Of The Year  to Toby Lee, one of the youngest blues guitar player of the world.

 

EBC 2017 AWARDED BY THE READERS OF TWÓJ BLUES MAGAZINE IN POLAND

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”. 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.

Pertti and Roser receiving Twój Blues Magazine readers award (photo by Aigars Lapsa)

Our 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 for the amazing organization.