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SPOTLIGHT ON
EUROPEAN BLUES CHALLENGE 2019

info: EBC
april 5-6, 2019 Ponta Delgada Portugal (Azoren)
22 countries (alphabetical order)


Austria: Somerset Barnard Band

Delta Blues crosses in a scabby way with the Tex-Mex-Aussie-roots of a reckless globetrotter. Somerset Barnard was touring through Australia and the USA before he decided to throw everything away and travel the world. 
Somerset can be found playing anywhere from the streets of a Senegalese Village to the stage of an International Festival. His musical adventures have even led him to a play a part in a Bollywood Movie and work as a Sherpa in the Himalayas. 
Since 2 years, he is now based in Vienna. His last album ‘The Atlas Moth’, released in February 2016, brings together influences from his four years of travelling. The exciting new album ‘Trains & Churches’ was recorded in January 2018 together with Austria's music greats like Ernst Molden, Marlene Lacherstorfer und Ivo Thomann, all in analog at the Cselley Mühle in Burgenland, Austria.

Somerset Barnard: vocals, guitar
Marlene Lacherstorfer: bass           
Ivo Thomann: drums
John Williams: keyboards       

Belgium: Black Cat Biscuit

One day, everything comes together…
Mark (Monday Lovers, Six-pack) and Yasser (Six-Pack) played music together for as long as anyone can remember. Thanks to their daughters, Patrick (Big Mama's Kitchen, Elmore D, Rhythm Bombs) got to know Yasser, his fellow villager, better. Patrick on the other hand was musically linked to Stanley (Dr. Rhythm, Phil Bee & The Buzztones, Love Veins, Rhythm Bombs) and during guest appearances in their shows, Jeffrey (Belgium’s got Talent, Festeyn) turned out to be more than ready for following the drumming footsteps of his father. In 2015 it all came together and the band Black Cat Biscuit was born.
No well-trodden paths or worn out covers with Black Cat Biscuit, but a surprising, sometimes foxy cocktail of fresh songs, marinated in a special gumbo hot sauce, brought by five driven musicians! Black Cat Biscuit plays a conjuring gig that you should not miss, after having seen it, nothing will ever be the same!

Bart 'Yasser' Arnauts: lead vocals, guitar
Patrick ‘P. Daddy Alley’ Indestege: backing vocals,  double bass, el. bass, washboard
Jeffrey 'Jr' Gijbels: drums
Stanley Patty: lead guitar 
Mark 'Mighty Mark' Sepanski: backing vocals, blues harp

Croatia: Tomislav Goluban Band

Tomislav Goluban, Croatian blues musician, composer, harmonica player and a singer, is quite unique by his expression. With his passion, sense of humour and catchy appearance, he can really afford your audience an interesting and original show. He's been playing his harp inspired by old school masters like Sonny Terry or Slim Harpo. So far, he has released ten studio albums and won couple of national music awards. His music is combination of old delta, country & Chicago blues mixed with zydeco and world music elements.

Tomislav Goluban: harmonica, vocal
Hrvoje Funda: guitar, backing vocal
Vjekoslav Geček: bass, backing vocal
Krunoslav Zver: keyboards, trumpet
Dragutin Hojsak: drums

Denmark: Trainman Blues
album report: Trainman Blues

Trainman Blues is the brainchild of Irish singer/songwriter Richard Farrell and bass player/producer Laust Nielsen. Winner of the 'Best Blues Album' at this year's Danish music awards and winner of the Danish Blues Challenge, they have steadily gathered steam in the last year and a half. Richard is from a classical background with roots in blues, soul and folk while Laust comes from a blues, reggae and hip-hop background, having been a session bass player in the scene for over 15 years. Combining their strengths, Laust's visions and ear for productions with Richard's melodies and lyrics, makes Trainman Blues such a strong force. Joining them in a live setting are guitarist Joachim Svensmark and drummer Thomas Crawfurd (who features on the album). Joachim is one of Denmark's and Copenhagen's best kept secrets, a child prodigy, he was accompanied by his father to jams at the local Blue club Mojo's from the age of 14. He plays his own solo music and recently he has been playing with the likes of Thørbjorn Risager. Thomas is an incredibly musical and thoughtful drummer, creating beautiful layers with the use of different shakers and percussion. He plays with Fried Okra Band and has played with the likes of Gene Taylor.

Richard Farrell: Vocals/Guitar
Laust Nielsen: Bass Guitar
Joachim Svensmark: Guitar
Thomas Crawfurd: Drums

Estonia: Hilbert's Problems

Hilbert’s Problems is a blues-rock band from Tallinn, Estonia. Five members of the band are united together with love for old-school blues and rock music. The passion for creating and performing together has kept the band in scene since 2014. Hilbert's Problems play their own songs, aiming to offer listeners a variety of music from mellow blues to passionate rock! 

Siim Türnpuu: vocals
Indrek Paavo:, guitar 
Ivo Lõiv: guitar
Tanel Assmann: bass
Joonas Peensalu: drums

Finland: Jo’ Buddy & Down Home King III feat. Nieminen

Finnish singer-songwriter-guitarist Jo' Buddy celebrates his 37th year on the road and brings to EBC 2019 his trio line up, his long time drummer wizard Down Home King III and the great Sami "Cantor" Nieminen on the Hammond organ completing the jubilee.
They deliver an exceptional Soul'N'Roll Gumbo that has been cooked with all natural ingredients like blues, rhythm & blues, gospel and rock'n'roll.
Years on the road have honed them into a world-class combo with soulful expression and irresistibly greasy grooves. Be ready for this uplifting experience!

Jo' Buddy: Lead vocals, Electric guitar
Sami "Cantor" Nieminen: Hammond organ, backing vocals 
Down Home King III: Drums, backing vocals 

France: Elise and The Sugarsweets

Elise and The Sugarsweets is a merge of a young talented woman, Elise, and of a strong French Blues Band, The Sugarsweets. Elise and The Sugarsweets join in the musical vein of Blues & Soul and propose a set list organized around original and cover songs. It originality rests on the "organic" sound which emerge from this band, but also the freshness, the energy and the sensibility of its young artist singer, Elise. Elise and The Sugarsweets is the Blues & Soul musical vein!
Blues, Soul, Rhythm and Blues… We could review all the influences of the group.
Here, there are no labels, the music above all! The originality rests on the "organic" sound which gets free of this band but also the freshness and the sensibility of her young singer.
With only a double decade, Elise’s voice and feeling make her one of the most charming singers of the current scene. Artist with multiple influences, she delivers during every gig a mesmerizing and communicative energy.
The Sugar Sweets is a robust combo formed by the guitarist Olivier Raymond, accompanied by his two accomplices, Jérôme and Olivier Ferrie, bass and drum. This trio explored for more than 10 years the French, European and international scenes (stages), from Memphis to Juvisy-sur-Orge, from Riga to Bourg-la-Reine. They are joined in this adventure by Bala Pradal pianist and organist recognized in Rhythm & Blues and the Soul music to make roar out the Hammond organ.
Elise and The Sugar Sweets, it is a clashing cocktail of Blues, Soul and Rhythm & Blues. Uh! For labels it is missed …

Elisa Heyte - Lead Vocals
Olivier Raymond - Guitar & backing vocals
Bala Pradal - Hammond Organ
Olivier Ferrier - Drums
Jérôme Ferrier – Bass

Germany: Richie Arndt & Band

Richie Arndt’s big passion is the blues and American roots music. The guitarist, singer and songwriter is to be known all over the place in the German music scene. For four decades he has played with band and solo in the clubs and at festivals all over Europe, has meanwhile published 16 albums and is definitely not a youngster anymore, but an old-stager in the local blues-scene. Amongst others, his experience, talent and presence on stage brought him the honour of “Best Contemporary Blues Artist 2015” and he has been awarded at the “German Blues Award” 2016 (best album) and 2018 (best vocals/male). The newly formed Richie Arndt Band with Sascha Oeing on bass & Peter Weissbarth on drums will represent Germany at the “International Blues Challenge” in Memphis in 2019 and at the “European Blues Challenge” on the Azores 2019. A great honour for this German bluesman from East Westphalia

Richie Arndt: guitar / vocals
Sascha Oeing: bass / backing vocals
Peter Weissbarth: drums / backing vocals
Tine Vonhoegen: backing vocals

Greece: Sakis Dovolis Power Trio

Sakis Dovolis is a blues/rock guitar player, singer and songwriter from Greece. Undoubtedly, his name belongs to the list with the best Blues/Rock guitarists in the Balkans. On 2013, Sakis formed his “solo artist’ project named “SD Power Trio”. Combining the fundamentals of Blues with a more aggressive and modern sound, the band is often referred as a heavy blues/rock band. He is also known for their powerful shows and high energy stage appearance, elements that keep the audiences fully satisfied. Sakis was recently signed by the American Recording Label Grooveyard Records NY, and his debut album "Cross The Line" is coming out worldwide on November 23rd

Sakis Dovolis: Guitar, Vocals
Fotis Dovolis: Bass, Back Vocals
Nick Kalivas: Drums, Back Vocals

Hungary: György Ferenczi and The Rackajam

A Hungarian professional group playing a shockingly interesting fusion of 21st century urban folk music and traditional genres. An indefinite blend of Rock n' Roll, Soul, Blues and of course the band is showcasing many alternatives and remarkable own renditions of their native music.
Rackajam is among the most popular and looked-after acts on the Hungarian and Eastern European scene today! The founder of the band is György Ferenczi whose diatonic harmonica (blues-harp) sound is highly acclaimed across Europe and his instantly recognizable sound and pure style makes every performance a one-of-a-kind experience!
The band's multi-instrumentalists play mostly acoustic instruments, and while respecting tradition they are easily express and reinvent either in the moment or putting hundreds of hours of work to create albums through laying new national standards for Modern Acoustic music!


György Ferencz: harmonica, violin, vocals
Ádám Apáti: Wurlitzer electronic piano, bass guitar, vocals
Zsolt Pintér: mandolin, vocals
Gábor Bizják: Wurlitzer electronic piano, french horn, vocals
Miklós Jankó: cajon, vocals

Italy: The Drive

Blues and nature addicted, The Drive link the north and the south side of Italy thanks to the fusion of two well- known italian duos: “Angela Esmeralda & Sebastiano Lillo” and “PoorBoys” who play all over from festivals to small clubs, combining passion, energies and skills. They have played together since 2016 and found fertile ground in classics, influenced and inspired by a background full of delta blues, roots, rock and gospel music. Powerful and mesmerizing, The Drive can dig deep and at times they cross genre boundaries

Angela Esmeralda: Vocals
Ste Barigazzi: Vocals, Electric Guitar
Sebastiano Lillo: Electric Guitar
Enry Zanni: Drums

Luxembourg: Heavy Petrol

Heavy Petrol was born in 2011 and when Dan Juchem and Steve Richer decided to join the band and after having played blues covers for a few years, they started composing their own songs with their own lyrics.
For the last 7 years, Heavy Petrol has gained a certain reputation in Luxembourg and participated in major Luxembourg Blues festivals such as "Blues Express" and "Blues and Jazz Rallye". They have played for great artists such as Brother Dedge, Ana Popovic, Junior Mack and many others.
They recorded their album "Petrol Train" in 2017.
The sound of Heavy Petrol has been influenced by artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter or Joe Bonamassa.

Daniel Juchem: (drums)
Daniel Kries: (bass)
Gigi Felten: (guitar)
Steve Richer: (guitar)
Woody: (vocals)
Elise Nunes: (vocals)

The Netherlands: The Dynamite Blues Band

The Dynamite Blues Band from The Netherlands will take you on a journey with their raw blues and exuberant live performance. The musicians have played together for over 10 years, so get ready for some great chemistry. Their blues is influenced by Texas and Chicago as well as the more swinging West Coast Blues. They play almost exclusively original songs with the occasional obscure cover from favorites like Sean Costello, Nick Curran or The Red Devils. They’ve released two albums with outstanding reviews, but you really have to see the band live for the real Dynamite-experience!

Wesley van Werkhoven: Bluesharp and singer
Jacob Jan van Duijn: Guitar
Renzo van Leeuwen: Bass
Jan Aandewiel: Drums

Norway: Geir Bertheussen Blues Express

Geir Bertheussen Blues Express is a hard working blues band from the northern parts of Norway. The band performs original songs and covers in the Chicago blues tradition, mixed with some boogie and good old rock n´ roll. The frontman, singer and harmonica player Bertheussen is a true bluesman, who has been into the traditional blues for three decades. He has explored the roots during his visits to Mississippi and the US, where also the band can look back on several recordings and juke joint gigs.
Geir Bertheussen is celebrating a 30 year anniversary as a recording and performing artist in 2018. His band, Blues Express, features Kai-Sverre “Sugar Kay” Fjellberg on guitars, Trond Hansen on the bass, and Kåre “Lefty” Amundsen on drums. In the EBC the line-up will also include keyboard player Rune Karlsen.

Geir Bertheussen: vocal/harmonica
Kai-Sverre Fjellberg: guitar/vocal
Rune Karlsen: keys
Trond Hansen: bass
Kaare Amundsen: drums

Poland: The Smooth Gentlemen

The Smooth Gentlemen are three veteran musicians from the Polish music scene. Their music is a blend of Blues and Soul. Sometimes smooth sometimes explosive, but always energetic! The band consists of Bartek Szopinski, (acclaimed pianist, Hammond organist, composer, 11 times winner of “Pianist of the year” statuette awarded in the “Blues TOP” survey), Milosz Szulkowski - drums, and Piotr Bienkiewicz - guitar. This combination of musicians is an exciting new band with lots of depth and experience.

Bartek Szopinski: piano, Hammond
Piotr Bienkiewicz: guitar
Milosz Szulkowski: drums

Portugal: Delta Blues Rides

Delta Blues Rides are from Oporto and with a truly appealing repertoire, these four musicians reinvent the sonorities that originated the blues (Mississippi) until today, where the constant dialogues between guitar, piano, harmonica and resonator, allied to a strong interaction with the public, make them one of the finest and most complete Blues bands in Portugal, gathering a complete set of Blues traditional instruments: Harp, Piano, Resonator Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass and Double Bass, Drums; ... all in a band with just 4 members!
Considered to be some of the best blues musicians in Portugal, they have played with major international names such as: Pat "Mother Blues" Cohen (New Orleans), Diunna Greenleaf (Texas), Slam Allen (New York), Connie Lush (Uk), Zakiya Hooker (daughter of John Lee Hooker) and Mable John (Ray Charles singer).

Paulo Veloso: lead vocals, piano, acoutic guitar, resonator guitar
Jorge Loura: electric guitar
Ricardo Melo: bass
Miguel Pardal: drums

Romania: Rares Totu’s Midnight Sun

Rares Totu and Cosmin Farcas may work together since 2006 but the story between drummer Adi Tetrade and Rares goes way back to the 80s. Elected Guitar Player of the Year in Romania in 1987 and Best New Guitarist in Hungary in 1992, Rares Totu had always a foot in the blues no matter which way the stylistic winds blew. Along with Adrian Tetrade, one of the most respected musicians in the country, the band is completed by seasoned bass player Alin Neagoe from Tetrade's own pop outfit "The Humans" and long time collaborator Cosmin Farcas on keyboards. Singer Aminda Nomade is one of the best voices around and a captivating front figure.

Aminda Nomade: vocals
Rares Totu: guitar
Cosmin Farcas: keys
Alin Neagoe: bass
Adrian Tetrade: drums

Slovakia: Tony Bigmouth Pearson

Tony Bigmouth Pearson (Stefan Uhrinak) is a singer-songwriter and guitarist from Slovakia. As a teenager, he spent some time in the USA, the stage name ‘Pearson’ pays homage to his relatives who helped him buy his first electric guitar.
His remarkable originals are greatly influenced by North American blues and acoustic folk and are enhanced by rich baritone vocals. Present day social and political processes are reflected in his lyrics. In many instances he composes musical interpretations of poetry.
In 2017, he was awarded the songwriter's prize for ‘Best Composition’ at the Bratislava Music Competition. In 2018, he won the Slovakian Blues Challenge and is currently touring in Central Europe.

Stefan Uhrinak: guitar and vocals

Spain: Big Yuyu

Big Yuyu was formed in 2006 in Mallorca, Spain, one of the most beautiful places in the Mediterranean. Mallorca is not only known for its tourist appeal, which blossomed in the 60’s, but also because of its vibrant live music scene, where the Blues plays a big role.
Since their inception, the band is proud to say that it´s got more than 3000 hot blues nights under its belt, having played in the best clubs and festivals around Spain, and also touring Germany and Holland. This is a band made up by musicians who love what they do every night, making music with soul and passion.
The rock-solid rhythm section formed by Esteve Huguet on drums and Juan Amaro on bass supports Jordi Álvarez´s unique guitar and vocal skills, filling the air with reminiscences of the legends of the Blues, but always with that personal touch that should give Big Yuyu a hard-earned spot in the European Blues Scene!
The band fourth studio album is a new trip back to the roots, however this time with a great wealth of experience acquired on the road, resulting in a sound unlike other bands: unique, personal, powerful… all showcased in a live show that will thrill everyone

Jordi Alvarez: guitar, vocals
Juan Amaro: bass
Esteve Huguet: drums

Sweden: Marino Valle Band

Marino Valle has for many years been singing old school Rhythm & Blues and Soul with bands such as Big Band Splash, Gugge Hedrenius Big Blues Band and The Soulmates. Marino Valle Band was formed in the spring of 2017. Marino is accompanied by musicians who played with Peps Persson, Sven Zetterberg, Patricia Page & The Prophets and Franska Trion among others. The band offers swinging up-tempo songs and gorgeous soul music in a mix of original material and covers.

Marino Valle: Vocals and harmonica
Mikael Fahleryd: Electric Bass
Magnus Hjorth: Drums
Henrik ”Pilen” Pilquist: Electric Guitar
Arvid Hill: Keyboards

Switzerland: Manu Hartmann and The City Blues Band

Swiss singer Manu Hartmann is well-known in the local Blues scene of Switzerland. With her expressive voice and impressive stage presence, Manu is attracting much attention since some time (performing with Chicago Dave Blues Band; St. Louis Blues Band; etc. amongst others).
In 2013 Manu teams up with French guitarist Claude Groelly (WAAP; Blues Print) and formed the “Manu Hartmann & the City Blues Band“. Manu and Claude did agree at once... a groovy repertoire, distinguished musicians and a rich brass sound are a must. The piece formation is playing modern urban blues enriched with a lot of soul and funk elements. Their own songs are written by Manu and Claude and relate to the style of Etta James or Dalbert Mc Clinton.
Their first studio album will be released in spring 2019.
Manu Hartmann and her City Blues Band are wowing the audience with their dynamic stage performance every time!


Manu Hartmann: vocals
Claude Groelly: guitar
Stephan Schätti: drums
Denis Flaig: Bass
Shanky Wyser: keys/organ
Christoph Huber: trombone
Thierry Kaufmann: saxophone
Marko Frank: trumpet

United Kingdom: Kyla Brox Quartet

Blues and soul become inextricably entwined in Kyla Brox, whose raw talent has seen her described as “the finest British female blues singer of her generation”. From beginning her career as a teenager in her father’s Blues band, to touring all over the world fronting the mighty Kyla Brox Band, and her nominations in the Best Female Vocalist and English Blues Act categories in the UK Blues Awards 2018, Kyla’s star continues to shine more brightly every year. Her band, featuring the subtle, melodic guitar of Paul Farr and the dynamic rhythm section of Danny Blomeley and Mark Warburton, is the perfect setting for her voice to soar. With the release of her critically acclaimed album, ”Throw Away Your Blues”, Kyla sealed her place as the Queen of British Blues.

Kyla Brox: Vocals/flute
Paul Farr: guitar
Danny Blomeley: bass guitar
Mark Warburton: drums

List of Appareances:

Friday april, 5

Hungary: György Ferenczi and The Rackajam
Portugal: Delta Blues Riders
Belgium: Black Cat Biscuit
Romania: Rares Totu's Midnight Sun
Estonia: Hilbert’s Problems
Poland: The Smooth Gentlemen
Spain: Big Yuyu
Norway: Geir Bertheussen Blues Express
Switzerland: Manu Hartmann & the City Blues Band
Germany: Richie Arndt Band
France: Elise & The Sugar Sweet

Saturday april,6

Italy: The Drive
Croatia:  Tomislav Goluban Band
Denmark: Trainman Blues
United Kingdom: Kyla Brox Quartet
Finland: Jo’ Buddy & Down Home King III feat. Nieminen
Luxembourg: Heavy Petrol
Slovakia: Tony Bigmouth Pearson 
Greece: Sakis Dovolis Power Trio
Netherlands: The Dynamite Blues Band
Austria: Somerset Barnard Band
Sweden: Marino Valle Band