The 10th European Blues Challenge

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/

 

Italian Band for EBC 2020

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.

Harp Attack VI

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.

Hamburg Blues Nights

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.

Czech Blues Challenge

Thanks to Lucie Kalabova, board member of EBU and president of the Czech Blues Association, Kjell Inge Fischer Brovoll and Fred Delforge were invited in Strážnice to attend the 1st Czech Blues Challenge.
Four bands were in competition, Tom Jegr & Gang, The Peanuts, Mo/Fo Cat Clarion and WBand and after jury deliberations, the winner was WBand, a 5 piece act from South Moravia, at the border between Czech Republic and Slovakia.
WBand will represent Czech Republic next april in Zaandam for the 10th European Blues Challenge. Congratulations to the participant bands and thanks to all volunteers of the Czech Blues Association for the organization of this first national challenge and for their warm welcome!

The EBU at the Swedish Blues Challenge in Malmo

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!!!

Read more at
http://www.blueschallenge.se/
http://www.malmoblues.com/

Participant countries at EBC 2020 in Zaandam (Netherlands)

 

 

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:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czeck Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Luxemburg
  • Netherland
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom

 

 

Little Steven Blues School – Experience from Poland

Thanks to the generous scholarship from European Blues Union and kindness of the festival’s management team we were able to stay for over a week in the Norwegian town called Notodden.  It is a really beautiful city placed in the valley and we stayed in the school just by the enormous lake, so we could feast our eyes on the stunning, picturesque view every time we wanted to. The Bok & Blueshuest building was next to the school. That’s were all the blues history lessons and practicing in student bands took place.
Every band had it’s own practicing room full of amps, drums, keyboards and other great gear. Our first task was to prepare 2 covers of the classic blues song. We chose I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man by Muddy Waters and Messin’ with the Kid by Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. It was hard in the beginning but after two days of practice, with the help from each other and from the teachers who were very supportive, we had the songs ready and they sounded really good.
The second task was to compose our very own song. This process was especially interesting, it was like building something from the Lego bricks but in a musical way of course 🙂 Like Charlotte mentioned before we decided to prepare a funky blues song, titled “Funky Vibe”, it came out really well and we can’t wait to share it with you. That’s the song we recorded in the Juke Joint Studio the next day, with the help of a world class musician Banana from the Youngbloods. We played those 3 songs on a few gigs around town, it was great fun.
Later on the Little Stevens Blues School ended and the Notodden Blues Festival began. We took part in the interviews with the stars like Billy Gibbons, Eric Gales, Joe Louis Walker on Friday and with Monster Mike Welch, Johnny Moeller, Troy Gonyea and Kim Wilson on Saturday. It was amazing that we had the opportunity to talk to them for a little while and take pictures of course. Przemyslaw adds: “Later in the evening I met Mike Welch on the street and he recognized me and asked me if I know the way to the building where he was giving the interview earlier during the day. I said that I do and I’ll be glad to walk him there (the school I stayed at was right next to it). And that way I got another opportunity to talk to Mike for a  while, a thing like that can happen only in Notodden!”
We spent the afternoons and evenings at the concerts, it was amazing to be able to see all these exceptional musicians play one after another… It was truly a magical time in a beautiful town and with the great company of very kind and interesting people. We are extremely glad that we could be there and we are already planning to visit Notodden again in the future!
Barbara, Charlotte, Jakub and Przemyslaw

Billy F. Gibbons becomes the first ambassador of Sierre Blues Festival

It is with great honour that Sierre Blues Festival welcomes Billy F. Gibbons as its first ambassador.

It is on the occasion of the Notodden Blues Festival (Norway) that the founder of ZZ TOP met Silvio Caldelari, President of the Sierre Blues Festival, and agreed to associate his name with this festival.

The famous Texan band, which this year is celebrating its 50th anniversary and has sold over 70 million albums, honoured us by taking part in the 2017 edition of the Sierre Blues Festival. The following year, which marked the 10th edition, Billy F. Gibbons returned to the Valais with the Supersonic Blues Machine project.

“It’s an idea I thought up after his last visit to Sierre in 2018 because his passion for Blues and music in general is matched only by his desire to respect, share with and meet other people, values to which the festival adheres and to which I personally adhere. In addition to this, he obviously enjoys spending time in the Valais where he has several personal friends. From there onwards we exchanged several messages… He takes this role as ambassador very seriously and we had a long conversation before he proudly accepted it” explains Silvio Caldelari, still very moved.