Blues fans are in for a massive treat!
The largest Blues Festival in Asia is all set to kick off on Friday at the famous Mehboob Studios in Bandra, and boy are we excited! If you’re a Blues fans, then it goes without saying, that you’ve been waiting for this for a long, long time! With the extensive focus on Bollywood and EDM in the country, it’s a ‘breath of fresh air’ to have a festival, of such a high caliber, that focuses exclusively on the incredible range of Blues talent and artists; not only in India but across the world. And we couldn’t be more thrilled that the organizers keep bringing the vibes to Mumbai, year after year.
Having seen the likes of Joss Stone and Buddy Guy perform at the festival over the years, you know that the organizers don’t stint when it comes to bringing down the creme de la creme of the Blues music industry. It’s no wonder that the anticipation for this year’s line-up has been building for months. From Grammy nominees to young prodigies, it already sounds pretty darn good.
Joss Stone At The Festival Last Year
This year, the Mahindra Blues Festival will feature a range of very talented and award-winning female artists as headline performers. Be it three-time Grammy nominee Shemekia Copeland, Irish singer and guitarist Grainne Duffy or singer-songwriter Janiva Magness, who’s latest album has been nominated for the 2017 Grammy awards; the female talent at the Mahindra Blues Festival 2017 will surely be a highlight of the event.
Just 37 years of age, Shemekia Copeland has been affectionately referred to as the ‘Queen of Blues’, a title used to describe the likes of blues singer Koko Taylor. Earning his title as a result of her powerful vocals, the singer was introduced to Blues very young. Daughter of Texas blues musician Johnny Clyde Copeland, the Grammy-nominee was exposed to music through her father, even having joined him on tour at the tender age of 16! She still takes his advice, “He once told me ‘Don’t read your reviews. If they’re good, they go to your head. If they’re bad, they bring you down.’”
60 and still rocking, singer-songwriter Janiva Magness turned her troubled childhood into her strength just like a true Blues artist does. After seeing bluesman Otis Rush perform live, her orphanized teen life seemed to take a turn. She poured all her pain, troubles, personal history and life battles into her music; creating soulful lyrics that were raw, genuine and earthy and earning her a fan base of her very own.
Having won the BB King Entertainer of the Year in 2009 and being nominated for the Grammy’s, this year, for her album, ‘Love wins again‘ proves that it doesn’t matter what age you start your career, there’s hopes to conquer your dreams no matter what. Having witnessed a turbulent life, the star is even working on her memoirs and a musical. “I know it sounds bizarre, but it’s true,” she says.
30 year-old Irish singer and guitarist Grainne Duffy, the youngest of the female performers, combines celtic influences and classic rock with Blues, making her stand out form other artists. “We had no TV in our house while growing up, only a record player. My sisters and I loved Fleetwood Mac as there were girls in the band so that was the music I grew up listening to, alongside my father’s country music collection with Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and others,” she says.
Her debut album ‘Out Of The Dark’ released in 2007, scoring her a spot on the acoustic stage at Glastonbury festival. “Glastonbury was an amazing moment. I got to share the stage with some artists I grew up listening to like Sinead O’Connor and Joan Baez and it gave me the confidence to believe in my music and my message,” she says. The artist is currently working on her third studio album with American producer, Justin Stanley – a man who has worked with the likes of Eric Clapton. She will be performing songs like ‘Rather go Blind’ from her debut album and ‘Test of Time’ from her second album.
Now that we’ve covered the incredible female artists, we move on to some more fascinating male performers.
At the tender age of 15, Teen prodigy Quinn Sullivan has already played with the likes of Buddy Guy! If that wasn’t enough, he’s even shared the stage with the likes of Eric Clapton and BB King! Phew! Makes you ponder what kinds of things you did at 15, doesn’t it? Let’s not go there…
Born in 1999, (that’s right, he barely existed in the 20th century), he started playing the guitar at the tender age of 3, landed on Ellen at 6, and joined Buddy Guy on stage at 8! Sigh! He hadn’t even reached the double digits yet! However, the terms ‘whiz kid’ and ‘child prodigy’ ain’t what this young star would use to describe himself. “I find it funny cause I don’t consider myself anything but a working musician and a guitar player and singer/songwriter,” he says.
And among other things, this talented kid has to balance his homework with his tour schedule! However, the star does mention that kids from his generation aren’t exactly big on Blues. After all, this is the Bieber generation! “I wouldn’t say blues music is on most of my friend’s iTunes libraries, but in a way I do think they can understand what these musicians are talking about… Blues music to me is the soundtrack of everyday life. I think everyone in some point in his or her lives has lived it, not even knowing there is music behind it.”
Speaking about his anticipated performance at Mahindra Blues Festival 2017,”I’ll be playing mostly my original stuff from my last two records, and some covers I love to do live. I think I’m the same person on and off stage, maybe a bit louder onstage,” he adds.
Supersonic Blues Machine featuring Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) & Eric Gales
It all happened when Texan guitarist-singer-songwriter Lance Lopez got together with producer Fabrizio Grossi, in 2012, to work on some songs; not realizing that this would create the foundation for what we know today as Supersonic Blues Machine. Indiana native drummer Kenny Aronoff later joined in and the rest was history.
This time, the band will be joined by the talented Tennessee guitar virtuoso Eric Gales along with ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons
Specializing in Blues-Rock, Blackstratblues is led by songwriter and producer Warren Mendonsa. The band is known for their unique sound that’s instrumental in creating a magical musical experience that’s energizing, uplifting and so much more.
With the range of headline acts all geared up to rock Mehboob studio this weekend, the Mahindra Blues Festival is all set for another awesome edition.
Mahindra Blues Festival will take place at Mehboob Studio, Bandra (W) between February 14-15. For tickets, visit here.
All image courtesy: http://www.mahindrablues.com