(MEMPHIS, TN) – The Blues Foundation, based in Memphis, will honor 11 people and organizations at its Keeping the Blues Alive Awards in January during the 35th annual International Blues Challenge.
During a brunch at the Doubletree Hotel in Downtown Memphis on Jan. 25, the awards will honor writers, DJs, photographers, record labels, blues societies, music clubs, festivals and others.
The International Blues Challenge will be held in Memphis Jan. 22-26. The Blues Challenge draws more than 800 musicians.
Atlanta Blues Society: The organization operates a Blues in the Schools program, a weekly blues calendar, monthly support of the Blue Flame Fund to assist blues musicians in need and partnerships with KBA awarded clubs: Darwin’s and Blind Willie’s.
Blues Alive Festival: The festival is the oldest blues festival in the Czech Republic and attracts blues fans from all over the world.
Capitol Oyster Bar: Located in Montgomery, Alabama, the club has supported live blues, showcasing and promoting top blues artists from around the country.
Croatian Blues Forces: The founding member of the European Blues Union supports Blues in the Schools programs (locally and internationally), produces blues concerts and has started or helped produce blues festivals in Croatia.
Hans Ekestang: Ekestang is a Swedish blues photographer who has been capturing the genre since 1971, attending blues festivals in Europe and the United States. A 196-page book of his blues and R&B photos, Great Feeling and Meetings, was recently published in Sweden.
Jesse Finkelstein: Finkelstein is host of Blues Radio International, a weekly shortwave blues music broadcast that streams online and cofounder of Shining Stone Music Group. Blues Radio International features recorded music as well as exclusive live performances and interviews.
Sara French: French is the go-to blues publicist in Canada. She is also a member of the Toronto Blues Society’s board of directors. For the past nine years, French has been responsible for the publicity for Canada’s national blues awards gala, the Maple Blues Awards.
Jean Guillermo: Guillermo is one of the founding members of the European Blues Union and has served as board member and vice president. He helped found the French national blues society, France Blues and has served as board member and vice president. As a full-time volunteer, Guillermo founded and managed a 17-day, multi-city blues festival. He has brought blues music into schools, universities, senior care centers, homeless shelters, jails and prisons and hospitals. He received the Blues Behind the Scenes Award from the European Blues Union this year.
Tom Hyslop: Hyslop has been a staff writer and contributing editor for Blues Revue and Blues Magazine, has written liner notes, as well as hundred CD reviews and has conducted interviews with blues musicians for more than 20 years. He has been a talent-buying consultant for the Marquette (Michigan) Area Blues Fest for almost all of its 15 years.
Don Ottensman: Ottensman has been playing blues music on KNON-FM, Dallas’ noncommercial 55,000-watt radio station for 35 years. He has interviewed many artists and blues musicians on this show. In 2002, he organized Dallas-Fort Worth Blues History Week.
Bob Trenchard: Trenchard, owner of Catfood Records, has worked in the music business in a variety of roles for more than 50 years.