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!
On June 10 in the early hours of the day, the representatives of European Blues Union, France Blues and Toulouse Blues Society flew to Memphis and Clarksdale to accompany the young Evan Guenebault (18 years) who participated at the Pinetop Perkins Foundation Workshop with great artists like Bob Margolin, Bob Stroger, Fiona Boyes, Phil Wiggins, Anthony Geraci, Anson Funderburgh, etc.
This 4-day professionalization workshop was a real success and our young participant, supported by the European Blues Union, received an exceptional welcome from his teachers with the public praise of Bob Margolin, which is not nothing, but also and above all invitations to perform for off-stage jams during which he could play alongside Heather Crosse and Lee Williams, Anthony Geraci, Fiona Boyes, Ike Turner Jr., etc. If we add the 4 jams scheduled as part of his internship, Evan played 7 times in no less than three major clubs Clarksdale (Hopson Commissary, Ground Zero and Hambone) and has been able to be appreciated by the best in the profession but also by a public of connoisseurs.
We will highlight that Evan Guenebault was one of five participants in this workshop not to be from the United States since there were in this edition 2019 three young English students, a young Japanese student and the French representative. We took advantage of this trip to the USA to present to Evan some important places of blues culture (culture that he already had mastered before his departure) and some personalities like Jay Sieleman and Barbara Newman (former and current CEO of the Blues Foundation), Tim Sampson and Robert Terrell (communication officers at Stax Academy and BB King Museum), etc. Evan’s clairvoyance, his dynamism and his kindness have each time been applauded!
We will also point out that, like many other French artists before him (Bernard Sellam, Mister Mat, Damien Cornelis, Cisco Herzhaft, Bad Mules, etc.), Evan was invited to play at the Peace Baptist Church before an audience who was literally surprised by his performance, some of them even went so far as to compare him to BB King, and there was enough to think about the vibrato and the emotion that was there that day in his game!
This trip was also an opportunity to strengthen already very strong links with our American contacts with whom we have a real weight today because they know us, we appreciate and wish more and more to work with us. We continue to strengthen the place of European blues on the world stage and the benefits can only be positive. Also note that we have further consolidated the contact with Pat Morgan of Blue Mountain Artists who is a member of the European Blues Union and which should offer us new opportunities for collaboration in the months to come.
A small teaser drawn from the various videos that were made on the spot should be available quickly … Evan will testify of his experience and his teachers will not fail to mention the quality of his game and his great musical abilities. It should be noted that besides an article of “La Dépêche du Midi” published the day of our departure and a second article to be published in the coming days, we had the nice surprise to receive during our stay in the USA a letter addressed to the promising Evan Guenebaut via the address of Toulouse Blues Society, letter signed by the hand of the mayor of Toulouse whose attention was attracted by the article of press!
This first French participation in the Pinetop Perkins Foundation Workshop has kept all its promises and has allowed a young musician in the process of professionalization to enrich his Curriculum Vitae and especially to create an international address book with already promises of future collaborations. A very positive balance, therefore, for an operation that we hope to renew in the years to come!