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Blues hit the road again in Turkey

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News | 9/30/2010 12:00:00 AM |

After 81 groups and 243 musicians in the last 20 years, Efes Pilsen Blues Festival, the first and only blues festival in Turkey, will run between Oct. 1 and Nov. 6 this year for its 21st edition. With 24 concerts in 20 provinces across the country, this year’s festival will feature Kenny Neal, Mitch Woods & his Rocket 88s, as well as Samuel James

Back for a 21st year, Turkey’s longest running blues event, the Efes Pilsen Blues Festival, will be on tour throughout the country from Oct. 1 to Nov. 6, featuring some legendary names from the genre.

Performers including Kenny Neal, who stands out with a distinctive style which brings a modern outlook to the musical culture of his motherland Louisiana synthesized with Baton Rouge blues, Mitch Woods & his Rocket 88 with their re-interpretation of New Orleans-style blues and Samuel James, one of the most dynamic names of the blues scene, will cook up a storm of blues with 24 concerts across 20 provinces.

This year’s festival will take place in Denizli, Antalya, Konya, Kayseri, Mersin, Adana, Hatay, northern Cyprus, Gaziantep, Diyarbakir, Erzurum, Trabzon, Ankara, Edirne, Çanakkale, Balikesir, Izmir, Eskisehir, Bursa and Istanbul.

Over the past 20 years 81 groups and 243 musicians have performed as part of the Efes Pilsen Blues Festival with 314 performances. A total of 372,385 music lovers have attended festival performances.

Further information is available at www.efesblues.com and http://twitter.com/efesbluesfest.

[HH] Kenny Neal

New Orleans-born Kenny Neal, the son of skilled singer and harmonica player Raful Neal, spent virtually his entire life with legends of blues such as Lazy Lester, Buddy Guy and Slim Harpo.

Receiving his first harmonica from Slim Harpo, Neal started his music career at 13 in his father’s group, subsequently being recruited as Buddy Guy’s bass player. Sharing the stage with stars like B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Muddy Waters, Aaron Neville and John Lee Hooker throughout his life, Neal has been acknowledged as one of the high fliers of the blues world.

A skilled player of many instruments, Neal has also continued his career as an award-winning theater actor in addition to his musical identity. With his distinctive, laid-back style which brings a modern outlook to the musical culture of his motherland Louisiana synthesized with Baton Rouge blues, Kenny Neal will notch up one of the most interesting performances of the festival.

[HH] Mitch Woods & his Rocket 88s

Noted the dance and animation of their stage performances, blues band Mitch Woods & his Rocket 88s are expected to put on one of the most entertaining performances of this year’s Efes Pilsen Blues Festival.

Coming from a background of classical music and jazz, the Brooklyn-born musician put together several bands in his younger days before moving to San Francisco to continue his musical career.

Influenced by the musical trends in San Francisco, Woods chose to put a brand new band together and proceeded on his way as Mitch Woods & his Rocket 88s.

When their first album, “Steady Date” (1984), received highly favorable reviews from critics, the band quickly started to rise, increasing the number of their tours. Continuously on tour and releasing albums since then, Woods and his band have generally been inspired by the blues music of the 1940s and 1950s.

His performance featuring New Orleans blues accompanied by entertaining lyrics will be one of the most exceptional shows at the festival.

[HH] Samuel James

Inspired by the records of famous blues masters like Sonny Terry and Skip James as a child, Samuel James is an extraordinary musician who regenerated pre-war blues through a more up-to-date and distinct interpretation.

Known as a unique bard in the blues scenes and for his constantly telling of different stories in his numbers, the Canadian musician has elevated the concept of the solo act in the eyes of the audience, turning his solo performance into an entertaining show which expands across the entire stage.

Highly commended by Rolling Stone magazine, James takes stage with a guitar, piano, banjo and harmonica, demonstrating all his multi-instrumentalist skills during his performances. One of the most dynamic names of blues music, James keeps up with his tour program across Europe, along with his successful tours in the U.S. James is one of the prominent musicians of Toronto-based record company Northern Blues.

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