A great meeting took place during the Lucerne Blues Festival last November, some EBU board Members, Davide Grandi, Pertti Nurmi, Roser Infiesta and Jostein Forsberg, met Barbara Newman, BF president, and Michael Freeman, new Chairman from the Boaard Of Directors, to discuss some aspects of the mutula collaboration started some years ago to develop an interchange of blues musicians between USA and Europe. Our work keep on going and together we will be stronger!
We are proud to announce that the 10th European Blues Challenge will be held in The Netherlands, and more precisely in Zaandam next April. Organized by Blues in Zaanstad and Dutch Blues Foundation, the EBC 2020 will take place on 17th and 18th of April, at the Zaantheater.
Reserve your tickets here: https://ebc2020.entranz.nl/
So prepare to join the European Blues!
Nearest airport is Amsterdam. More information here: https://www.ebc2020.nl/
During the Italian Blues Challenge, that was organized in Torrita di Siena by the Italian Blues Union and he Torrita Blues Festival, the four bands were playing for a great blues night. On the stage of Teatro degli Oscuri we had the pleasure to listen to Martin’s Gumbo Blues Band, Gospel Book Revisited, Betta Blues Society and Big Man James Trio.
After more than 2 hours of music, and a special solo by Max Lazzarin, the hard work of the Jury decided the winner: The Betta Blues Society will be in Zaandam on April 2020 for Italy! With the charismatic Maulo at the helm, the band live and breathe 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.
Last weekend Bulgary had become European’s capital of harmonica hosting two triple-harmonica shows. The event was called Harp Attack, organized by Boris Totev, and put together 3 european harp players taking turns on stage, supported from a backing band. The band was composed by Miroslav Naydenov and Marcello “Billy” Tempesta on guitars, Youlian Traykov on bass and Pablo Leoni on drums. The first show took place in Delta Blues Bar, Sofia on October the 25th. The day after the show moved to Rock n’ Bar, located in Plovdiv. The harmonica players involved were Andrea Capurso (Italy), Andras Kőhalmi (Hungary), Franco Limido (Italy).
The shows has been opened by Andrea Capurso, a young italian harmonica player (24 years old) that proposed a classic Chicago blues set, playing classic songs by Sonny Boy Williamson II, Big Walter Horton, Little Walter and James Cotton. Andrea Capurso wanted to pay tribute to the Chicago harmonica masters, with this set that have seen him for the first time leading a band and singing, backed by Marcello “Billy” Tempesta on guitar, Youlian Traykov on bass and Pablo Leoni on drums. Andras Kőhalmi ran another classical set presenting traditional blues songs like “Caledonia” and “Talk To Your Daughter” but playing in a more modern and technical way, due to his impressive playing skills renewed those masterpieces.
Andras Kőhalmi is cooperating with Miroslav Naydenov from several years, they played with Youlian Traykov and Pablo Leoni. Last but not least Franco Limido presented a full range set that spaced from blues classics such as “Sloppy Drunk” to songs written by himself. The set covered all shades of blues, with funky, Rhythm & Blues and classic roots blues sections. Franco Limido has a great live experiences and toured Europe many times with different projects, among the others the band is running with his brother Marco Limido: Limido Brothers, a duo with Nathan James, Gene Taylor. Franco Limido played with Marcello “Billy” Tempesta, Youlian Traykov and Pablo Leoni. Miroslav Naydenov is an experienced guitar player and singer that played in many european venues and festival in the last years, crucial exponent of the Bulgarian blues scene. Marcello “Billy” Tempesta is a Sofia based young italian guitar player (25 years old) that in the last few years is getting more and more appreciations for his style of playing.
Youlian Traykov is a bass player that took part of the most important blues experiences in Bulgary, he is running different musical projects, among others one with Miroslav Naydenov and a power trio with Marcello “Billy” Tempesta on vocals and lead guitar. Pablo Leoni is one of the most important italian blues drummers, he played with many of the greatest european and world blues representatives such as Sugar Blue, Andy J Forest, Jerry Dugger, Fiona Boyes, Kayla Brox, Giles Robson. At the end of the shows a final jam session took place involving all the musicians that played together a couple of tunes.
Three Board Members were attending the 7th Hamburg Blues Nights where two ancient EBC contestants were scheduled during the week-end. On Friday, Michael van Merwyk from Germany (EBC 2012 in Berlin) was opening the first night where people also can see Victor Wainwright & The Train and Cecile Doo-Kingué. On Saturday, Smooth Gentlemen from Poland (EBC 2019 in Ponta Delgada) was the first act to play before Malone Sibun Band and Nick Schnebelen & Band. Congratulations and big thanks to Helge Nickel, Barbara Bloch and all the volunteers of Baltic Blues Society to keep the Blues and the European Blues Alive in Germany.
Steven Troch Band is the winner of the 2019 Belgian Blues Challenge and will represent Belgium at the 10th European Blues Challenge in Zaandam in The Netherlands on April 17 and 18, 2020, as it figures on the Belgian EBU page: https://belgium.europeanbluesunion.com
Thanks to the kind invitation of Swedish Blues Association and Malmo Blues, board members Fred, Pertti and Roser have enjoyed a great experience by joining the Swedish Blues Challenge, a national competition to choose the act which will represent Sweden at the European Blues Challenge in April 2020 in Zaandam (Netherlands). The challenge took place at the huge Clarion Hotel with twenty-five floors and a variety of conference rooms, bars, halls and the comfortable music auditorium where the challenge took place, as well as small Blues Market before the competition.
Three candidates got the final: acoustic blues roots duo Bert Deivert & Brian Kramer, Georg Meggs Quintet with a Chicago blues show and Ore Island Penitentiary Band, led by an spectacular front man. While jury was deliberating, Alain Apaloo from Togo delighted the audience with an intimate show and a deep feeling.
Also EBU vice-president Pertti Nurmi addressed a short speech praising the Challenge good organization and promoting the EBU among Swedish audience.
Finally the winners were announced: Ore Island Penitentiary Band with their unclassifiable front man, a cross between Freddy Mercury and Screamin ‘Jay Hawkins who really surprised the audience and juries.
Congratulations again to the participant musicians, to all members of the Swedish Blues Association and Malmo Blues for the good organization and thanks again for their warm welcome!!!
Despite the holiday season, most countries have already confirmed their participation at the EBC 2020 in Zaandam, Netherlands, 17-18 April 2020. Few ones have already finished their challenges to select the act representing them at the EBC. We kindly remind that the deadline for notification of participation of a country is 10 September!
Here is the list of confirmed countries:
- Czeck Republic
- United Kingdom