Eric “Slim” Zahl has sent us this letter about his feelings after winning the last EBC:
2016 European Blues Challenge – Torrita di Siena.
Little did we know, when we entered the 2016 European Blues Challenge (EBC), what a great experience this should prove to be for our band… Already a year earlier, in 2015, the band started their preparations – should the possibility of representing Norway in the EBC surface. Eric visited Brussels (host city for the 2015 EBC) to make mental notes on how Eric Slim Zahl & the South West Swingers might showcase their band in the best possible way on stage if there ever was OUR band who got the opportunity of playing in the EBC. Eric was also in Brussels to possibly connect with any booking agencies or organizers in Europe, to broaden the band’s horizon concerning touring outside Scandinavia and Great Britain, countries the band already had been touring for several years. The opportunity to represent Norway in the EBC came sooner than expected, when Eric Slim Zahl & the South West Swingers was elected by a unified Norwegian blues community to be Norway´s act in the 2016 EBC in Torrita di Siena. Then the FUN began! The band stitched together a twenty-minute set (time limit set by the EBU), rehearsed and primed our songs to be best possibly prepared for the EBC. We wanted to show what Eric Slim Zahl & the South West Swingers are all about in this Challenge – about having fun, connecting with the audience and enjoying ourselves when we play. Visiting Italy, the Tuscany region and Torrita di Siena particularly, we instantly fell in love with the place. Combined with the excitement of participating in the EBC, the fantastic talent of all the bands representing their countries and the friendly tone among organizers and the different artists – made this an amazing weekend for us. The arena was great, lots of people and a great atmosphere! We feel that we were allocated the perfect slot in the time schedule for our performance – at 10 pm on the Saturday. Brilliant. The audience were sizzling and we really felt the love in the room! When you have twenty minutes to perform, your only concern is that something unforeseen will happen, like technical difficulties or breaking a string or something like that. Well, everything went perfectly and the rest is now history. We are incredibly humble when we refer to ourselves as the 2016 EBC Winners! We met so many great people, artists and bands in this Challenge and we highly respect all the different styles, talent and all the different ways to perform the blues. We made some new friends and we had absolutely the best time in Italy. Winning the 2016 EBC also means playing some of the biggest blues festivals in Europe. For Eric Slim Zahl & the South West Swingers, this means getting an instant foothold in the European blues scene, and a chance to promote our band and our music there! At the present moment, writing this, our band has played festivals in Belgium, Spain, Finland and Norway – and we’re also lined up for festivals in Denmark and Switzerland – on top of a pretty hefty tour of the various Norwegian blues venues that were already booked for 2016 before us entering the EBC. Playing the different festivals around Europe has been an amazing experience! Professionalism, kindliness, great people and characters, standing alongside great acts – and performing in front of thousands of smiling people, has left a hefty impression on our band – personally and musically. Eric Slim Zahl & the South West Swingers are also looking on a great next year and quite a few gigs are already confirmed for blues clubs and festivals in Europe. After winning the EBC, our band is also now in cooperation with a Dutch booking agency handling bookings outside Norway. Winning the 2016 EBC opened “a lot of doors” for our band, as you can imagine…
Thank you so much! You Are All South West Swingers!
It was with great sadness to hear about the demise of Alfie Falckenbach following a long illness on 1 March 2016.
Deeply involved with Heavy Metal in the beginning of the 1980s he was the founder of the Belgian label “Mausoleum Records” which introduced a number of artists of the genre to European audiences.
Alfie was also founder and singer of the Blues Karloff Band recording two albums with the group.
In 1996 he founded the “Music Avenue” label which published several hundreds of albums in different music styles. He later started the company’s blues label “Blues Boulevard Records” and with his passionate involvement succeeded to refine the Belgian and the whole European blues scene.
In 2015 he was awarded the “Blues Behind the Scenes Award” by the European Blues Union for his commitment and enthusiasm to promote the blues.
The European Blues Union expresses its deepest condolences to Alfie’s family and friends. We will deeply miss him and will not forget his sympathy and involvement in the music in general and the blues in particular!
Photo Credit : Brigitte ‘Bibi’ Lehmann
We have received confirmation from countries that will participate to the 6th edition of the European Blues Challenge at Torrita di Siena (Italy) 7 to 9 April 2016. Here is the list:
6). United Kingdom
Good luck to all participants!
We have received confirmations from countries that will participate at the next European Blues Challenge in Brussels next March. Here is the list :
16. United Kingdom
We also recall that the number of participants at the next EBC will still be limited to 20 contestants.
Fred & The Healers will represent Belgium at the 4th. European Blues Challenge in Riga. Know more about them at http://www.fred-and-the-healers.be/
The first European Blues Expo will soon open its doors at Tecla Sala Library in Hospitalet de Llobregat in Barcelona. The Expo will be open from 19 September to 31 October. Tecla Sala Library is the official home of the European Blues Union Archives and has a Blues Documentary Fund, promoted by the Barcelona Blues Society and individual people. The goal of the exhibition is to illustrate and advertise the activities organized by the EBU such as the European Blues Challenge and the Blues Market. Artists who have provided their photography for this event are Pertti Nurmi (Finland), Alain Hiot (France), Sylvie Bosc (France), Fred Delforge (France), Roser Infiesta (Spain) and Charlie Hussey (Ireland). There will also be plentiful of audiovisual material produced by the 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. The Mayor, Ms. Núria Marín is expected to attend the opening event of the European Blues Expo on 19 September at 19:00 together with some Board members of the EBU. Everybody is invited to attend the opening event and visit the Expo!
BIBLIOTECA CENTRAL TECLA SALA
Fondo de Blues / Blues Documentos Unión Europea
Avda. Josep Tarradellas, 44
08901 L’Hospitalet de Llobregat. Barcelona (Spain)
Founded in 1981, the french “Cahors blues festival” celebrates its 32 th edition from july 14 h for 7 days and nights of good music and fun : a mix of Blues stars, (among others Lucky Peterson, Royal Southern Brotherwood, Shemekia Copeland, the original Blues brothers band) but also discoveries, a master class, a Spanish afternoon, a contest of emerging talents, a crazy night with bands all over the city outside 13 cafes and restaurants … and the pleasure of local southern food and Cahors wine
Check it at Cahors Blues Festival
Culture In Danger all over Europe
Those days Culture is in danger all over Europe. A new treaty between USA and France is under discussion and EEC support a total liberalization, culture being a “product” like the others
Sacem, the french society of authors, published a magazine in which they take the example of Spain to illustrate what could happen
Already hit hard by the economic crisis, stunned by an increase of 8 to 21% of VAT, the Spanish cultural sector has recently received the “coup de grace” with the killing of private copying, the amount decreased from 115 millions to … 5 million. Importers digital media won in Spain, a first victory in their strategy to dismantle the device in many European countries where it is applied.
Music lovers and artists should react in every country. You can send messages to your society of authors or also sign at the French society of authors site