Blues Alive celebrates 20 years! With the lookback at the history of the Czechoslovak blues and one of the most respected American guitarists Warren Haynes
Šumperk / Prague, September 14 – The biggest blues festival in Central Europe, Blues Alive festival in Šumperk, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. From 12 to 14 November it will offer a busy all day and all-night program with stars from abroad as well as leading Czech and Slovak musicians. "Because it is the round anniversary, we wanted to offer something special, so the festival is different than usual. This has been reflected in the agenda of three main evenings," says the festival director Vladimir Rybička. The first concert is starred by one of the most respected American guitarist Warren Haynes, who will play a regular unabridged concert. The second night will bring together Czech musicians such as Jiří Suchý, Ondřej Havelka with the Melody Makers, Bluesberry, Luboš Andršt, Jan Spálený and ASPM or Slovak ZVA 12-28 to guide the audience through the history of the Czechoslovak blues - from the earliest up to the present. Then the festival welcomes the musicians who have already been to Šumperk, but now they are coming with a new program or other bands - for example, Studebaker John or the blues legend Bob Margolin, who would play with Muddy Waters . More information about the entire program is for you to get at www.bluesalive.cz The tickets are already on sale at the above website.
The first festival night on November 12 at the House of Culture is Šumperk is starred by Warren Haynes. One of the most respected American guitarists will play a regular unabridged concert. As his support bands Jan Galach Band from Poland and The Record Company from the US will perform before him. "Warren Haynes played with big stars such as Eric Clapton and Dave Matthews Band. He has also been a member of the Allman Brothers Band. He is arriving in Šumperk with his new solo album, but he will also play his earlier stuff that audience is sure to know, "says the festival dramaturgist Ondřej Bezr.
"The second night concept – to listen to the blues Czechoslovak history alive from the early beginnings – crossed my mind last year," says Ondřej Bezr about to the program on Friday, November 13 The evening starts with ZVA 12-28 from Slovakia. Ondřej Havelka with the Melody Makers, one of the largest bands in the history of the Blues Alive, will play old American blues and swing music. "Their playlist will be adapted to our genre," adds Ondřej Bezr. As a link with swing and rock'n'roll theatres in the 60s Jiří Suchý, the author of several blues songs that influenced the whole Czech music scene, will perform with his band. The orthodox blues will be reminded by the oldest, still playing, blues band Bluesberry, followed by probably the most original Czech blues composer Jan Spálený with ASPM. The concert will be finished by the most famous Czech blues guitarist Luboš Andršt with his Blues Band and a special guest, American guitarist and vocalist Dani Robinson. "Just to show how Czech bluesmen can cooperate with other countries," says Ondřej Bezr.
"On Saturday, November 14 we are going to repeat the five-year-old concept of Retro Blues Alive, when most artists have already played in Šumperk, but this year they are coming with new stuff or new bands," says Ondřej Bezr. As the main star blues legend Bob Margolin is coming, this time with his Italian group Mike Sponza Band. "His example shows that the blues is not just an American issue, it is a global phenomenon," adds Bezr. Raw Chicago blues will be represented by Studebaker John, following coupling American guitarist and vocalist Sue Foley and singer Peter Karp. Other musicians at this concert are definitely worth mentioning - the most famous Hungarian harp player Mátyás Pribojszki with excellent Czech guitarist Roman Pokorný.
The three main concerts nights will be complemented with a number of other musical activities: a concert at H-Club with Linwood Lee Taylor Trio from the USA and the Czech band Ladě, the tribute to B.B. King by Luboš Andršt with his band in Šumperk monastery church, where songs by the blues legend will be supplemented with spoken word, theme afternoon, this time with the bands that have passed the contest Blues Aperitiv, night jams in the foyer of the House of Culture and Holba Beer Parlour, screening the film The Blues Brothers in Oko cinema and a concert for schools. " As for the theme afternoon presenting successful formations at Blues Aperitiv it was a plenty to choose from. It turns out that competition is not just a Czech issue, it is a prestigious international competition. In addition, the success of foreign bands here opens up to Czech audience, "adds Ondřej Bezr.
The 20th anniversary is, of course, a reason to look back. The first year in 1996 was one day only, getting together six Czech bands headed by Luboš Andršt. About 400 people came to this event. "The Blues Alive has already been being visited by the second generation of its audience, half of them younger than 40, some of them in their twenties. We are pleased to see that bluesmen are not becoming extinct, they keep the same average age even after those 20 years, "says Ondřej Bezr. "People have also got used to that fact that blues is not only the orthodox one, they accept the musicians with large genre overhangs in the whole dramaturgical breadth. Blues is not an exactly given structure, but it is a feeling and atmosphere. And these can be found even when you do not hear them at first, "says Ondřej Bezr.
Tickets are available for prices ranging from 80 to 570 CZK at www.bluesalive.cz, you may also buy a two-day pass. This year, as the 20th anniversary bonus, the CD from last year and also the CD of 20 years of festival history together with a two-day pass
The entire program and more information at www.bluesalive.cz.
Poles adore Blues Alive, they awards it the event of the year again
CHORZÓW, ŠUMPERK – Two years ago the first, last year the second and this year the first again. These are the amazing placings that ŠUMPERK Blues Alive festival has taken in the prestigious TOP Blues competition, announced by Twój Blues, the most widely read Central European magazine dedicated to blues music.
This year Blues Alive Festival won again in the category of world events in 2014. Such events as festivals in Chicago and Memphis have ranked behind Blues Alive.
"The news from Poland has surprised and pleased us, especially because the results of the competition TOP Blues are decided about by readers of Twój Blues and Poles are known to understand blues music," says the festival director Vladimir Rybička with a smile.
The survey results were announced by TOP Blues magazine last weekend and the award ceremony will take place in April in the cultural house in Chorzów.
The nineteenth year of Blues Alive festival took place in mid-November last year and it hosted the stars like John Németh, Otis Taylor and Morganfield brothers. The musicians played again to a full house as the years before.
More about the results of the Top Blues 2014
The competition Blues Aperitiv has raised a great interest
Belarusians are shortlisted to compete for the jubilee Blues Alive
Also this year the international music contest Blues Aperitiv is going to give bluesmen a chance to win participation at the prestigious festival Blues Alive, which will take place in Šumperk from 14th to 16th November.
"We are very pleased that even though this is 16th year of Aperitiv, there are a lot of new blues bands that are willing to compete for the participation at Blues Alive. In addition to the established bands there are completely new bands applying for the contest. We are also pleased that the originally purely Czech Festival has now become an international event, "says the festival director Vladimir Rybička.
34 bands from Poland, Austria, Belarus, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have entered for the 16th year of Blues Aperitiv contest.
"This year we have achieved the largest number of entries in the contest history, a total of 34 bands, couples and individuals. Besides the traditional participants from the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia bands from Austria and Belarus have enrolled in the first round as well. Some of them, however, are too far beyond the reach of the contest. The first round has shown a significant change compared with the first years of Blues Aperitiv - the tendency to play own repertoire, often sung in native language. Regardless of not always balanced quality of authorship the effort to face blues material in their own way must be must appreciated, "said the festival dramaturge Ondřej Bezr.
In early February the expert jury, chaired by Ondřej Bezr and consisting of music journalists, active musicians and festival promoters, chose seven groups, which are allowed to play alive at the final concert in Šumperk on Saturday, March 21.
Two winners will be selected from the seven bands and these bands are guaranteed to play at the renowned Blues Alive festival. Previous experience from past years gives a chance to more than two bands. The other bands that will capture the jury´s or the audience´s attention may get an invitation to play at side stages of Blues Alive or in Poland.
The final concert of Blues Aperitiv contest will be held on Saturday, March 21 at Culture House in Šumperk from 7.00 p.m. Admission fee is 90 Czech crowns.
Advancing to the final concert Blues Aperitiv XVI.
THE ROAD DOGS /BELARUS/
JURAJ SCHWEIGERT & THE GROOVE TIME /SK/
THE WEATHERMAKERS /CZ/
MILAN KONFRÁTER BLUES BAND /SK/
MARTIN CHIK BLUES BAND /CZ/
MAREK PIOWCZYK TRIO /PL/
THE BLADDERSTONES /CZ/