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On a soul train

After a two-year gap, Mumbai gets a revived blues festival with Buddy Guy as the headlining act.

music Updated: Feb 01, 2011 13:46 IST
Sharin Bhatti

Blues and jazz aficionados have much to look forward to this weekend. A clutch of world-renowned musicians will be shredding their guitars and singing soul at the two-day Mahindra Blues Festival to be held at Mehboob Studio, Bandra.

Owen Roncon’s Oranjuice Entertainment, that used to organise an annual blues event called One Tree Festival until two years ago, are bringing down blues legend Buddy Guy, guitar shredder Matt Schofield, gospel singer Jonny Lang and American blues vocalist Shemeika Copeland for the concert.

VG Jairam, festival organiser explains, “Anand Mahindra is a blues lover and he came to us with this concept. That’s when we decided to turn a proposed blues concert into a two-day festival. Not just the international acts, even local bands will get to share stage.”
Home-grown talent Soulmate, Shillong’s avant-garde blues band and Saturday Night Blues band from Kolkata will play along with Guy, Schofield and others on February 5 and 6, spread over three stages at the venue.

Even though, the artiste roster and tech rider of the Mahindra Blue Festival resembles that of the One Tree Festival, Jairam insists that it’s a completely different property. “We are maintaining the One Tree brand and will be organising one in November this year. Last year was fairly dull because of the market recession and sponsorship deficit. But this year hasn’t even begun and is already booming with concerts,” says Jairam.

He is hinting at two more festivals – Sulafest and York Wines Festival - that are being held in the same month and are also looking to attract the live gig crowd.

But Jairam is unperturbed. “We have already sold out day two tickets. People are spoilt for choice rather than starved for choice. This only shows that the alternative music audience is growing wider,” says Jairam.

Besides the gigs, day two will also host a guitar workshop with Matt Schofield, where the award-winning guitarist will teach basic concentration exercises and sliding practices for aspiring musicians. “There is space for 100 hundred people to attend. We’ve already received 75 registrations.

Tickets for Mahindra Blues Festival are available online at www.bookmyshow.com. Season tickets for both the days cost Rs 3,000. Day one tickets cost Rs 2,000.