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