COPENHAGEN, DE – It’s Autumn, and time for “Blue Copenhagen.” From Tuesday, Sept. 22nd once again the blues will sound all over the city, and we invite all blues fans to visit the city’s many clubs and venues for a week of world class international blues, and some very good homegrown blues.
The Blues is many things – it’s tradition, but also innovation and evolution. The festival is famous for it’s presentation of the blues in a fine balance between tradition and new expressions, and our constant musical ambition is to cover all styles of blues and to present a program of the highest possible international level. You’ll find the seasoned blues veterans performing alongside some very talented young artists, who will carry the torch into the future.
The program this year is influenced by the recent loss of one of the greatest blues acts of all times, Mr. B.B. King, who died in May and would have been 90 years old September 16. Copenhagen Blues Festival wishes to pay tribute and commemorate his music and his heritage with some special events.
We will start Tuesday night at 9:45 pm with the film about B.B. King’s life, Life of Riley at the Cinemateket in Gothersgade. Thursday night at 8 pm, Amager Bio celebrates The King of the Blues, with a great live concert. A long string of artists will pay their respect to B.B., backed by a real B.B. King-style big band.
The old guard of well known and beloved jazz-, blues and rock artists through the 50s, 60s and 70s are disappearing these years, one by one. In the last three years alone we have lost Etta James, Louisiana Red, Bobby Bland, J.J. Cale, Magic Slim, Joe Cocker, Jimmy Dawkins, Johnny Winter and two of The Holmes Brothers among others.
Even Danish music has lost one of our great profiles, Hugo Rasmussen, who died August 30th, just a few weeks before the festival, where he should have played several concerts. He’ll be missed!
But the old stars are not forgotten – they have had, and will continue to have – great impact as inspiration for all blues musicians, who follow in their footsteps. And fortunately, the blues scene keeps evolving, and it’s exciting to see the young talents maturing and stepping up in the front row. This is a dynamic process, which also works as a motor for the live scene and for this festival.
This year’s festival program offers about 50 blues concerts at 18 venues all over town. As always, you’ll find almost all styles and variations of The Blues: from acoustic delta, folk, country, ragtime to urban, funky blues, Chicago, New Orleans, swampy Mississippi, blistering Texas boogie and power blues-rock, jumpin’ & jivin’ West coast blues, jazz-blues and trail breaking new cross-over styles.
The 15th anniversary of the festival opens the 5 days week of live blues music with a Grand Opening on Wednesday night at Amager Bio, presenting a Danish and an American top act, Thorbjorn Risager & the Black Tornado and John Németh.
The evening kicks off at 7 pm with the presentation of the winners of the two Blues Awards: “Danish Blues Artist of the Year” and “Danish Blues Album of the Year” – Danish Music Award – Blues.
The 5 nominated albums for DMA – Blues are: Big Creek Slim – “Hope For My Soul;” The Blues Overdrive – “Clinch; “Fried Okra Band – “Back Into the River; “Mike Andersen – “Home; “The Mojo Makers – “Devils Hands”
There is a lot of other exciting stuff in the stew, for instance: Selwyn Birchwood from Tampa, Florida, who along with John Németh from Memphis, are seen as great international class up-and-coming blues stars. You’ll also find a couple of more seasoned acts: John Primer and Mississippi Heat, both out of Chicago City, and both strong performers of the ‘real deal’ Chicago blues.
As usual, the city is crawling with Danish and Scandinavian blues acts in all styles, forms, shapes and sizes: Delta Blues Band, Thorbjorn Risager & the Black Tornado, Copenhagen Slim, Mama’s Blues Joint, Big Creek Slim & Peter Nande, The Fried Okra Band, Esben Just, H.P. Lange, Hans Knudsen & Ronni Boysen, Paul Banks & Jorgen Lang, Kjeld Lauritsen & Miriam Mandipira, Troels Jensen, Jes Holtsoe, Mik Schack. And from Norway and Sweden: Hungry John Blues Band, Svante Sjoeblom, Jan Gerfast Blues Band and Steve Grahn & Mattias Malm.
In the Danish line-up you’ll find almost all previous recipients of the festival’s award, “Danish Blues Artist of the Year” – that doesn’t happen very often.
The festival always tries to find new events to supplement the many concerts and the by now traditional offers, like Blues Brunch with blues music, the Blues Sermon at the Grundtvig Church, blues jam etc. This year you can cruise around in the harbor and canals of Copenhagen, of course with live blues on board. There’s a special treat for dancing bluesfans – it’s usually difficult to find dance space at the crowded venues.
‘Blue Copenhagen’ is usually blessed with a beautiful ‘Indian Summer’ weather. We hope, that the Global climate changes leave us alone again this year, so people can enjoy their walks to and fro the many venues and great musical experiences that awaits them.
See full program with artist articles and photos for each concert and venue and ticket info here.