Let us introduce all the great artists representing their home countries at the 10th edition of the European Blues Challenge in Zaandam (The Netherlands) between 17 and 18 April 2020.
25 countries will be represented by these good bands during an amazing and unforgettable Challenge you don’t have to miss!!
Marius Dobra Blues Band
The bandleader and songwriter Marius Dobra has been on the road with his guitar for more than 40 years. Music and lyrics are, with a few exceptions, all written by local lower Austrian artists .You can clearly feel his passion for blues, Jesus Christ and the influence of his role models Gary Moore and SRV. The Marius Dobra Blues Band has performed at numerous national as well as international festivals featuring famous musicians such as like Josè Feliciano, Supermax, Robben Ford,Josh Smith,Eric Gales, and many more. They succeed by the right mix of blues, rock and very strong ballads – the tension definitely never drops.
- Marius Dobra: guitar
- Roman Kovacs: bass
- Martin Wagner: drums
- Matthias Ihrybauer: Hammond
Steven Troch Band
Singer/harmonica master Steven Troch got “contaminated” by rhythm & blues in his late teens and has been several fronting bands since 1994. In 2016 he surrounded himself with a very talented & experienced bunch of musicians. Guitarist Matt T Mahony is carrying the torch high, keeping one eye on tradition while pushing forward into newer areas. Miss Liesbeth Sprangers keeps a steady pace on her powerhouse bass and drummer Bernd Coene brews up a wide variety of rock-solid rhythms like no other. Steven Troch Band is a tight four piece band that plays rough-edged contemporary blues with soul-baring conviction.
- Steven Troch: vocals, Hohner harmonicas
- Liesbeth Sprangers: bass
- Matt T Mahony: guitar
- Bernd Coene: drums
Blues Traffic is an electric blues & blues-rock band established during 1997 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The band keeps strong influence of Texas blues heroes and the 70s rock; the guitar improvisations and the expressive rhythm section symbolized the band. Apart from the club scene, they have memorable performance in 1999 at Bourgas Blues Fest, featuring Blues Brothers and the blues hero of Serbia, Pera Joe. Live session has been broadcasted by Bulgarian National TV. In the first decade of 21st century the band performs twice at the prominent (at that time) festival “Spirit of Bourgas” and numerous of other local festivals. In 2005 “the Traffickers” record two trucks feat. the blues icon of Bulgaria the piano player Vili Kavaldjiev. 2015 saw Blues Traffic recording two new trucks. “Shoes for Blues” reaches 1st place in the national TV chart while “Let Me Tell You about the Women” reaches #3 at Radio chart Top 40. During 2017 Blues Traffic released the album “Shoes For Blues”– a proof of talent and strong identity The next years are period of development of their musical style with impact of likes as Allman Brothers Band and Blind Faith.
- Bozhidar Banov “Porto”, guitar, vocals
- Ivan “Vankata” Peychev, guitar, vocals
- Aram Tateosyan, bass guitar
- Nikolay “Kolyo” Tabakov, drums
A group of groove enthusiasts, aka Jeremiah’s, has been keeping the same mission since 2011: a deep-seated blues mantra; decorated with funk and rock-reinforced. Jeremiah’s is the last year’s winner of the Croatian Blues Challenge in the band category. In January 2018 the band featured Croatia with its authoring songs at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. Also, they won 14 Mega Muzika Award for “The best young bend 2017” and HGF festival 2018. Performing at bars and festivals in Croatia, they are developing their own sound, which was recorded in March and April of 2017 in the photogenic and acoustic theater of the small town St. Filip i Jakov. In January 2018 they recorded 5 songs in Dark Horse Studio near Nashville, Tennessee. The sound of the album counting 9 authoring songs has remained authentic due to the power of live analog recording.
- Jeremija Eškinja- drums
- Roko Vodopija- guitar
- Mirta Juran – vocals
- Luka Četković – bass guitar
- Frane Škara – harmonica
- Ante Brzić – trumpet, vocal
WBand was founded in 2009 when bassist Walter Bartoš, guitarist Palo Hrnčirík and drummer Miroslav Mikeska together created a blues project. Since 2014, Walter Bartoš Jr. started playing guitar in the band. WBand focuses on blues music with elements of funk, soul and rock. Some music passages are close to jazz. The band regularly performs at Central European festivals. This year there were for example blues festivals in Poland (Przeworsk, Suwalki, Chorzow and Krosno), Blues Road and Strážnické rockové slavnosti in the Czech Republic. In addition, he performs on the club scene in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Since 2017, singer Michaela Vraňuchova has been performing with WBand. Band members are often invited as studio players to various other projects.
- Palo Hrnčirík – guitar, vocals
- Michaela Vranuchova – vocals
- Walter Bartos junior – guitar
- Miroslav Mikeska – drums
- Walter Bartos – bass, backing vocals
Long Line Down
From Denmark comes a dynamic duo which brings an original and refreshing combination of downhome blues & old school rock. Characterized by both the prominent drums and vocals of Anders Holm and the gritty guitar playing from Martin Christensen, this two-piece blues’n’rock band is a true ‘in your face’ experience, with captivating songs. Though they may seem new, since Long Line Down has only existed since early 2014, they have been performing nationwide on a regular basis and have played at international festivals such as the Van Thom Weekender in Bremen, plus a tour in Belgium and Germany. Take note, as this band has been moving through the Danish underground scene, which has not gone unnoticed. Getting a lot of attention in this circuit, they play offbeat venues regularly and their career looks as promising as the unique musical combination they create.
- Anders Holm: drums, percussion, lead vocals
- Martin Christensen:guitars, second vocals
Kaisa Ling Thing
Kaisa Ling Thing is a vaudeville blues band from Estonia, led by singer Kaisa Ling. After years of investigating classic female blues singers Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ida Cox, Alberta Hunter, Chippie Hill, and many others, she has recruited the help of lyricist and blues musician extraordinaire Aapo Ilves to introduce the best and most scandalous hits of historical vaudeville blues to the Estonian audience. Dealing openly and humorously with taboos –sex, violence, suicide, and racism–, classic female blues singers were the pioneers of the record industry and we as a society would be remiss to forget them. Accompanied by Rene Paul on the piano, Argo Toomel on double bass, and Peep Kallas on drums, Kaisa presents a humorous commentary on current events with the help of a collection of 100 year old songs and original neo-vaudeville with a vintage flair.
- Kaisa Ling – vocal
- Rene Paul – piano and vocal
- Argo Toomel – double bass
- Peep Kallas – drums
Lumberjacks is a bold mix of styles in the vein of roots music. One foot is nailed to blues but the other reaches soul, funk, rock and even doo-wop. These forest men rely on their own strong compositions which reflect life’s ups and downs. That’s what the blues are all about! The well thought-out band sound involves all the musicians singing lead and backing vocals, which is another forte of the band.
- Miikka “Chef” Kivimäki: bass & vocals
- Urmas “Big Hand” Niemi: guitar & vocals
- Jarkko Salo: keyboards & vocals
- Janne Käpylä: drums & vocals
Jessie Lee & The Alchemists
Singer/guitarist Jessie Lee Houllier and guitarist/composer Alexis Didier (alias Mr. Al) first crossed paths on the Paris blues scene in 2011. A year later, they were performing together, first playing blues-rock covers and then their own songs. Excited by both song-writing and performing, they decided to put a band together that would reflect all their musical influences. So, in 2014, a solid rhythm section was added to back Jessie Lee’s powerful vocals and Alexis’s lead guitar work. The duo became a quartet with a hardy new groove laid down by Laurent Cokelaere on bass and Julien Audigier on drums. Soon after, they were joined by Laurian Daireon keyboards, adding a subtle finishing touch to the alchemy of the band. Although they cover three generations, all five band members grew up listening to American and British music. So it was only natural that this became the source of their inspiration and energy. Together they perform original songs that reflect their different musical backgrounds, a well-balanced blend of blues, soul, rock and jazz. Influences from the past drive their creativity, but their music is unmistakably modern and original. After three years and a multitude of concerts, a debut album became a necessity and finally saw the day on April 13, 2018.
- Jessie Lee: lead vocal, guitar
- Alexis Didier: guitar, backing vocals
- Laurian Daire: keyboards, backing vocals
- Laurent Cokelaere: bass
- Stéphane Minana-Ripoll: drums
The Bluesanovas – 21st Century Blues!
That’s the band that proved to provide the new kind of explosive blues and boogie music over the past few years! Formed in 2015, they already took part in the Blues Festival Hildesheim in 2016 and the Blue Wave Festival Rügen in 2017, taking a role as the new rising star in the blues scene. Since at least the 90th issue of the Blues News Germany, The Bluesanovas are known as the best hope in the new generation of German blues bands. Now, their second album “Emergency Call for the Blues”, published by Timezone, is available.
Melvin Schultz – vocals
Nico Dreier – piano
Filipe Henrique – guitar
Nikolas Karolewicz – bass
Philipp Dreier – drums
The name is Lazytrains but don’t get fooled… these cats are here to rumble! A mighty fine blend of fiercing blues, foot stomping soul, with a twist of funk, un-earthy female vocals and their debut single “The Sound of the Blues” set the pace for the Greek based band to provoke the spirits and mojo for the new era of the blues scene. Lazytrains are a music band that has been around for some years a group whose members come from diverse musical backgrounds and aesthetic references These differences seem to merge in a common ground they all share within the blues family including elements of garage, rock ‘n’ roll, swing, jazz, funk, soul but also ventures in creative noise. Of the above mentioned mainly they choose to play their favourite tunes and well known ones as well as their own original songs. In their shows they tend to be extroverted creating channels of communication and communion through dancing. Lazytrains are a music band that has been around for some years a group whose members come from diverse musical backgrounds and aesthetic references These differences seem to merge in a common ground they all share within the blues family including elements of garage, rock ‘n’ roll, swing, jazz, funk, soul but also ventures in creative noise. Of the above mentioned mainly they choose toi play their favourite tunes and well known ones as well as their own original songs. In their shows they tend to be extroverted creating channels of communication and communion through dancing.
- Maria Ioannidou: vocals
- Petros Koutroumpis: guitar
- Dimitris Moraitis; saxophone
- Lefteris Katsas: bass
- Eleni Fiseki: drums, back vocals
Ripoff Raskolnikov Band
Both an accomplished blues guitar player and a prolific singer/songwriter, Ripoff Raskolnikov must be considered one of the most idiosyncratic figures on the European blues scene. Like thousands of his colleagues, he admires and reveres such blues greats as Blind Willie McTell, Skip James, Robert Johnson or John Lee Hooker. On the other hand, and quite unlike most of his colleagues, he has no desire to imitate or copy them. Nor, for that matter, is he willing to remain within the boundaries of what is generally accepted as the blues. What does connect him to the aforementioned giants is his fully committed, unwavering integrity in exploring, and coming to terms with such human emotions as love, passion, desire, loss, pain, the quest of beauty, hunger for life, or fear of death. Driven by such forces, Raskolnikov unleashes songs of powerful poetic and musical expression which, more often than not, defy stylistic categorization. On stage with his band, including Szabolcs Nagy on piano, Laca Varga on bass and Lajos Gyenge on drums, three excellent musicians from Budapest/Hungary who worked on his latest, much-acclaimed albums, whatever the line-up, Raskolnikov never fails to create an ambiance of poignant intensity. He is the sort of artist you like to watch as well as listen to. His stage charisma, his dry sense of humor and his highly personal approach to the blues make him one of a kind.
- Ripoff Raskolnikov: vocal, guitars
- Szabolcs Nagy: piano
- Laca Varga: bass
- Lajos Gyenge: drums
Crazycrow are an lrish band based in Dublin, lreland. The guys produce an energetic and dynamic sound that brings all their years of touring and recording experience to every performance. Their music is informed by the blues and the influence of John Hiatt, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Bonnie Raitt is distilled into the 12 original tracks on their new album “Movin’ On”, written and recorded by the band. This is pure music, no loops, no tracks, no samples, just great song writing with hooks, grooves and earworms that will stick in your head. They bring this dynamic sound to each performance, wowing audiences and peers with their straight-ahead, no-nonsense approach to live shows.
- Gerry Hendrick, guitar, vocals
- Denis Doran, vocals
- Geoff Kirk, drums & percussion
- Eric Coates, bass. vocals
Betta Blues Society
The Betta Blues live show is an electrifying experience. Fully involving the audience, their show is made up of two distinct parts: one part features fresh reworks of blues, folk and gospel standards from the early 20th century. The other part includes original tunes from the album Let Them Out. The album recounts personal and lived experiences – exactly like the blues tradition of the early 1900s. With the charismatic Maulo at the helm, the band lives and breathes 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.
- Elisabetta Maulo: vocal, ukulele
- Lorenzo Marianelli: electric guitar, electric dobro
- Fabrizio Balest: double bass
- Pietro Borsò: drums
Based in Rumelange Luxembourg, Ramblin’ South encompasses the rough and warm essence of the south, mostly inspired by rock, blues and jazz. Established in 2015 some of the bands highlights so far include performances at renowned festivals like Blues Express, Fête de la Musique, Blues ‘n Jazz Rallye Luxembourg. Appearances at CCRD Op der Schmelz, Nancy Web-TV and regular gigs in local bars and pubs have anchored the band as a permanent fixture of the local blues scene. A healthy mix of own compositions and interpretations of existing songs, consisting of gripping’ harmonica and slide guitar riffs, bundled with exciting boogie beats and a distinct vocal timbre, makes a Ramblin’ South concert an unforgettable event!
- Lisa Korshin. vocals
- Marco Cardoni: guitars
- Fabrizio Gentle: guitars
- Lex Meyer: Bass
- Claude Sandt: Drums
Dave Warmerdam Band
In 2018 and 2019 the Dave Warmerdam Band has been steadily making a name for itself in the Dutch music scene. Five very young musicians who totally agree on how to express their feelings and emotions through blues music. Time after time they amaze their audience with their lyrics and the feel they put into their music, being it classic blues songs or the material they write themselves. The energy and enthusiasm the band displays makes it a must for every blues (music) lover!
- Janne Timmer: vocals
- Dave Warmerdam: keys, vocals
- Sonny Ray van den Berg: guitar
- Lars Hoogland: bass
- Rick Van de Voort: drums
Reloaded Norway is a bluesrock band from the heart of the blues in Norway, the City of Notodden. The vocalist, Heidi Blåsmo, writes the songs and jams them with the other musicians. The result takes you on an endless journey of raw rhythm and spiritual pleasure. Under the hood, you won’t get a shiny polished fantasy, but the real deal… grease and all. This is also what you’ll get from their newest album “My Longest Mile”, a journey that sheds a lot of pain, but also the finest pleasure. The lyrics are richly spiced by the vocalist’s inner thoughts. This album is a good mix of blues and rock, and it is definitely as versatile as the songwriter herself. The guys in the band have shaped the music with a steady hand, and this combined has become something quite unexpected, but exciting. In June 2018 the band got promoted by a Dutch radio host that liked the band and said that this music needs to get a place out in the big world. Since that day, Reloaded Norway’s music has been played several times on several radio channels all over the world. They were the “Artist Of The Week” in NRK P1 in the north of Norway in May 2018. They have been listed on TOP 20 Pennsylvania, TOP 40 on IBBA’s list, TOP 40 as the most played Blues album in Main, USA, TOP 50 Roots Music Report Chart as the most played Blues Rock album, TOP 50 Roots Music Report Chart as the most played Blues album. They got listed as No 1 on TOP 50 Roots Music Report Chart as the most played Blues Rock song WORLD WIDE with “Saturday Night Diva”. Words like wow’s and oh’s are often used by their audience. Radio hosts all over, say that this band is different and exciting with a vocalist that is highly extraordinary.
- Heidi Blåsmo – Vocalist
- Hans Trasti Isaksen – Guitar
- Tore Præsteng Thuen – Guitar
- Jarle Børresen – Keyboard/Organ
- Tony Caddle – Bass
- Rune Erling Pedersen – Drums
Sosnowski is known as a one man band performer, songwriter and experienced guitarist, known for his characteristic hoarse vocals. His works not only won the recognition of many music journalists, but also won the hearts of many listeners that made his songs hitting high positions of Polish charts. He is one of the few artists in Poland who manage to smuggle blues music into mainstream. He got awarded with such important Polish music awards as Mateusz Trójki, Offensywa De Luxe, as well as the Grand Prix of Suwałki Blues Festival, during which he had the honor of doing the opening act (opening for Corey Harris). He performed at important Polish festivals, such as Męskie Granie, Enea Spring Break, ZEW się budzi Festival or the Blues Maraton.
- Bart Sosnowkski – voices, guitar, banjo, bass drum & tambourine
With a career span of 12 years, The Ramblers, amongst other victories, won the Iberian Suberock Festival in Spain in 2018. Also, they were proud to open for international blues names such as BB King, Ian Siegal and, as well, Carvin Jones. Coming from their early years as a band formed in their University, their music has matured in more recent years turning themselves in a very tight and cohesive band that warp powerful performances wherever they present themselves.
- Mafalda Raposo, voice
- Ricardo Lopes, guitar
- André Lourenço, sax
- Luís Nunes, bass
- Ricardo Ferro, drums
In concept, Florentin Milcof aka Othello has had the idea of a piano blues trio since 2015. Practically however, The Othello Trio had their first public appearance in Focsani in September 2017 and the band’s first project is call “Piano Blues Made In Romania.” A unique endeavour on the Romanian musical scene, the band promotes the music of great pianists in the history of blues, as well as producing original blues songs in the Romanian language.
- Othello Florentin Milcof – vocal, piano
- Ion Marinescu – bass guitar
- Daniel Croitoru – drums
Her Memories Band
Her Memories is a band that came together in Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia in 2017. Heavily influenced by blues, soul and rock, the band members devoted themselves to create a balanced mix on the blues-rock core of Her Memories. In October 2019 they released their debut single “Unbeliever”.
- Martin Tomasik – vocals, guitar
- Oliver Kucharovic – bass
- Damian Szabo – hammond
- Peter Garaj – drums
Mingo, Sanpa & Bárez Bros
Mingo, Sanpa & Bárez Bros combine two generations of blues in this country. The mixture of these great musicians is explosive! Their live music, full of energy will keep your feet moving all night. On the one hand, the energetic Mingo Balaguer, with more than 30 years on stage, acclaimed as one of the greatest musicians in the national and European blues harmonica. He has been part of the legendary “Caledonia Blues Band” for ten years and was the founder of “The Blues Blasters” and “Mingo & The Blues Intruders”. He has also shared the stage with great artists such as Charlie Musselwhite, Carey Bell, Gary Primich, Sugar Ray Norcia, Kenny Neal, Jr. Mischo, Bruce Ewan, Miguel Ríos, Raimundo Amador, Bobby Radcliff, Charlie Sayles, Paul Lamb, Jerry Portnoy, Sherman Robertson, Otis Grand and Lurrie Bell among others. On the other hand, Pablo Sanpa, who stands out as a national reference in terms of the electric blues guitar and the brothers Sergio and Pablo Bárez, bass and drums respectively, form a solid and experienced rhythmic base based on playing in the best blues clubs in our country, accompanying a large number of national and international artists every night. Both Sanpa and the Bárez brothers have been part of the bands of artists such as Eddie C. Campbell, Gene Taylor (The Blasters-Fabulous Thunderbirds), Lou Marini (Blues Brothers), James Harman, John Primer, Kenny Blues Boss Wayne, Boney Fields (Albert Collins, Junior Wells) and Nico Wayne Toussaint among others.
- Mingo Balaguer: vocals and harmonica
- Pablo Sanpa: guitar
- Sergio Bárez: bass
- Pablo Bárez: drums
Ore Island Penitentiary Band
Ore Island Penitentiary Band was born in the swampiest south of Sweden, where there may, or may not, actually be any swamps. We started playing blues standards but quickly realized that we were leaning towards a more theatrical and darker approach to the music, so we focused on the black magic and hence the concept of “rhythm and voodoo” was born. Musically we try to exist in a border-town where Dr John, Tom Waits, Screaming Jay and Howling Wolf all would be welcome. The band consist of five members. Lupus sings, Jonatan plays the keys, Michel the guitars, Carl works the bass and Stefan plays the drums. All the members are better musicians then the singer. But he makes up for it with his obsessive dancing, bootlegging, and general son-of-a-gunness. We try to go 50/50 with our own material and covers, but lately our own stuff has been spilling over.
- Lupus Nensén: vocal
- Michael Everbring: guitar
- Carl Svensson: bass
- Stefan Blomdahl: drums
- Jonatan Sersam: piano, harmonica
Justina Lee Brown Band
Justina Lee Brown, a singer/songwriter from West Africa is a survival child from the ghetto streets of Lagos, Nigeria, living her life and telling her real story through her music. Her sound is interpreted with funky soul blues and a fusion of her Afroroots. On stage Justina is a power house and a force of greatness that is truly authentic. During her performances she brings the real magic of music to life, packed with her identity and uniqueness. Justina Lee Brown and her Swiss band are now on tour with their new album “Black & White Feeling“. Each song on the new album is a piece of Justina Lee Brown’s biography.
- Justina Lee Brown: vocals/ songwriting
- Nic Niedermann: guitar/composer/bandleader
- Angelo Signore: keybord
- David Stauffacher: percussion
- Thom Wettstein: bass
- Christof Jaussi: drums
The Achievers are one of the most talked about and critically acclaimed new bands on the UK Blues and Roots Music scene. With a reputation for innovation and originality they prove that soul, groove and song-craft still matter in the blues. Their own brand of modern, secular ‘Dancefloor Gospel’ has catapulted them from near-complete obscurity to rave reviews and big-stage appearances across Europe. Their new album “The Lost Arc” was recorded mostly ‘live in the studio’ and is as much of an event as it is an album – it marks the arrival of The Achievers as a new force in British Blues & Roots songwriting. The band draw on their obsession with American vintage dancing music and the songwriting pioneers of early Rhythm & Blues, Americana and Southern Soul. With their infectious rhythms, joyful melodies and four-part harmonies The Achievers stand proudly as British Blues & Roots outliers.
- Steve Ferbrache – Guitar & Vocals
- Aron Attwood – Drums & Vocals
- Rufus Fry – Harmonica & Vocals
- Robert Holmes – Guitar & Vocals
- Jack Thomas – Bass