The Blues is back in Town! From June 20 to June 22nd 2019, the best Blues comes back to Bellinzona with the international BELLIZZONA BLUES SESSIONS.
13 free concerts in 3 days that will have as protagonists, on the stage in “Piazza Governo”, the biggest names in the international blues music scene.
Over 20 hours of live music in the magic frame of “Piazza Governo”, in the historic city center and surrounded by the UNESCO Castles. In the area of the festival, there will be a Music Village with several attractions: A main stage (covered in case of rain), a smaller stage for acoustic concerts and cocktails, a food corner with different specialties in collaboration with Ticino Street Food Truck, 2 bars, a kid’s area and a Vintage Music & Arts thematic market.
In the area surrounding the main stage, there will be an exclusive guest area (upon payment) with private services such as a private table for cocktail and dinner, special position with a clear and privileged view of the stage and backstage access).
Thursday 20.06. (free entrance)
The official opening of the festival is entrusted to the newborn local band FREDDY & THE CANNONBALLS, composed of 6 musicians with a great experience with different regional groups (The Flag, Vad Vuc, Drivin’ Mad,…). A collection which is not taken for granted, with original and classic contemporary blues songs proposed by Federico Albertoni, Mattia Mantello, Roby Panzeri, Chris Arcioni, Nigel Casey and Olmo Antezana.
The opening evening continues with the Spanish VICTOR PUERTAS & THE MELLOW TONES. Victor was at the festival last year with the “The Suitcase Brothers ", an acoustic duo with his brother Santos. He will come back this year with his electric band of Classic Blues offering an engaging collection of the great blues classics from Muddy Waters to Little Walter, Howling Wolf, Jimmy Reed,… .Victor is considered one of the most talented blues harmonica players in Europe.
Thursday's grand finale with a super band with soul and funk attributes from the 70s.
For the first time in Switzerland the singer LEON BEAL will revive the glories of Motown Records inspired by the masters Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, ... Native of Florida, he performed with various ensembles including the Temptations and in a show at the White House for the former US president Barack Obama. In Bellinzona he will be accompanied by the histrionic saxophonist SAX GORDON and by the talented Luca Giordano band, which is by then at home in Bellinzona. Born in 1965 in Detroit, in just a few years "Sax" Gordon Beadle became the reference figure of blues and rhythm ‘n’ blues saxophonists around the world. His partnerships are endless, we remember James Cotton, Junior Wells, Johnny Copeland, ... and his participation in the openings of concerts of The Rolling Stones, B.B. King, etc ... The closing of the first evening promises fireworks.
Friday 21.06. (free entrance)
The opening aperitif on the park stage is given to the quartet THE DRIVE, the fusion of two groups that gave birth to the band winner of the Italian Blues Challenge 2018, which will represent the nearby peninsula at the European blues contest scheduled in The Azores. Tradition, innovation, technique and sympathy are the winning cards of these 4 virtuous young blues players.
The evening on the main stage will start immediately with a bang and will have as protagonist a young guitarist and singer, rising star of the American soul / blues scene: TAYLOR SCOTT BAND. Taylor Scott has been Otis Taylor's guitarist for years and recently played alongside Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers, Gov’t Mule). His guitar style blends blues, soul, rock and jazz but his is a genre that transcends the labels and proposes a highly personal, powerful but refined sound. A great virtuoso guitarist who will be accompanied by his band of young talents and by the drummer Larry Thompson (already alongside John Lee Hooker, John Mayall, Dizzy Gillespie, etc ...) Absolutely not to be missed.
Second concert with an extraordinary band organized in partnership with the "Torrita Blues Festival" (I) for the only two European dates: SUGAR RAY & THE BLUETONES feat. DUKE ROBILLARD, LITTLE CHARLIE BATY and GREG PICCOLO! Each of them has an impressive history and curriculum. The band has won countless Blues Awards, including 7 Grammy Award nominations. The members were all part of the legendary Roomful of Blues. Active since the '70s the Bluetones have recorded with blues legends like Big Walter Horton, Otis Rush, Big Joe Turner, .... Duke Robillard was a member of the Faboulous Thunderbirds, replacing Jimmy Vaughan, he performed with real blues world stars but not only: he played on Bob Dylan's award-winning album "Time Out of Mind" and in 2006 he had been on tour with Tom Waits!
Little Charlie Baty had been the guitarist of The Nightcats with Rick Estrin for years, he played and recorded with many leading bands and was nominated 3 times at the Grammys during the fellowship with John Hammond. Greg Piccolo, also a former member of Roomful of Blues, is an extraordinary saxophonist who has lent his skills to many outstanding musicians (at the Eric Clapton Crossroad Festival, on Jimmie Vaughan's album "Do you Get The Blues", winner of a Grammy in 2002 and as a special guest in "Carnegie Hall Concert" by Stevie Ray Vaughan). He also worked and played with Etta James, Dr. John, Big Joe Turner, Earl King, etc ... A concert that will surely make the history of Bellinzona Blues!
Last concert of the second evening of Bellinzona Blues 2019 with the feminine blues star: ANA POPOVIC BAND. From Serbia to the conquest of the US, Ana Popovic is undoubtedly one of the stars of the blues firmament. Already participating at Piazza Blues in 2001 she returns this year with his quartet and a woodwind section. From the earliest years she had become a real musical phenomenon, sharing the stage with artists such as B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Joe Bonamassa and Gary Clark Jr., and rapidly awards and prizes started to come: she was nominated 5 times at the Blue Music Awards and she was the only female guitarist to be part of the "All-star" Experience Hendrix Tour in 2014 and 2017.
Saturday 22.06. (free entrance)
Several appointments for the last day of the festival. The blues will resound in the historical center of Bellinzona from the morning with the concert/aperitif in Piazza Collegiata, during the city-market, with the presence of some artists participating in the festival.
From 12.00 the theater park in Piazza Governo will liven up for the usual concert that will accompany the lunch. This year the DOUBLE DOUCE will be the lead, a band that will present a tribute to the great Stevie Ray Vaughan. From 2.00pm approx. it will be showed “Mistery Train – tutti i misteri del blues” a play for children and families presented by the Associazione Perepepè. Piccoli concerti per orecchie che crescono. The show tells the blues to the younger audience, with all the charm of ancient legends, responding to the curiosity of the spectators live on stage with 4 musicians.
From 6pm the evening aperitif will be entrusted this time to the power duo THE SUPERDOWNHOME. An exciting start of the evening with their rural Blues contaminated by pop, punk and folk. A mix so unusual as powerful that takes inspiration from Seasick Steves and from Scott. H. Biram and that was also appreciated by the New York bluesman Popa Chubby, who called them as opening band for his concerts.
The first concert on the main stage will be a musical journey that traces the roots of blues from Africa and the Mediterranean to Mississippi, passing through Jamaica with the project “From mali to Mississippi” by the GRIOT BLUES group, which includes the American bluesman Mighty Mo Rodgers and the Malian "griots" Baba Sissoko and Seydou Diabate Sissoko. An engaging mix of African, blues and reggae music to start directly with a great energy.
Second concert with a true piano legend of the blues and boogie woogie: KENNY "BLUES BOSS" WAYNE. Native of Washington DC, the 74-year-old Kenny carries the musical legacy of the era of great blues/jazz pianists: Fats Domino, Errol Garner, Roosvelt Sykes, ... A coming back to the golden age of Rhythm'n'blues, of boogie woogie and classic blues piano but with a fresh and modern approach. Winner of many Awards he has been musically active since the ‘60s. Accompanying him on this explosive show is a super band including authentic legendary blues characters such as Chicago drummer Willie "The Touch" Hayes (Buddy Guy, Albert King, Muddy Waters, Luther Allison, Magic Sam, ...) and bassist Melvin Smith (Lurrie Bell, Koko Taylor, Billy Branch ...)
Grand finale with a Swiss exclusive concert. Organized in partnership with the Torrita Blues Festival and for the only 2 European dates a headliner of substance that well represents the modern derivations of blues. ROBERT RANDOLPH & THE FAMILY BAND from Los Angeles will arrive in Bellinzona for the first time. Robert Randolph and his family (part of which are members of the current band) grew up with the Gospel tradition. He learned to play his instrument, the pedal steel guitar in the House of God Church in Orange (New Jersey) and soon began his musical career becoming a landmark of contemporary blues/soul/funk with initially his very own style. The sound of the band was inspired by the legendary funk bands like Earth, Wind & Fire and Sly & The Family Stones. Later, he refined a own style that blends the tradition of funk, soul and blues music with rock and jazz influences. A fusion of genres that forges a style never heard of and that has drawn the attention of big artists like Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Derek Trucks, Ringo Starr, Ozzy Osbourne, Elton John, Buddy Guy, ... (all of them have played with Randolph, both in live concerts and in studio’s recordings), who studied his technique with the pedal steel guitar. The first studio album (Unclassified), released in 2003, had immediately been successful and even Eric Clapton was so impressed that he invited the band to play at his prestigious Crossroads Festival and later wanted them as opening band for his world tour. Clapton was afterwards their guest on the 2006 "Colorblind" album. Robert Randolph's incomparable guitar technique has also been recognized by the "Rolling Stones" magazine which has listed him amongst the 100 best guitarists ever.
Three-time Grammy Award nominee, Randolph has lent his musical skills to the recording of many albums of legendary stars:
Ringo Starr, Buddy Guy, Sly & The Family Stones, Carlos Santana, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Elton John & Leon Russel, Los Lobos, ... and many others. He was also involved in the production of soundtracks for the American ABC broadcaster (promotion of the NBA) and for the television series Grey's Anatomy.
In 2004, Robert Randolph & the Family Band were hired to play the song Purple Haze in the album "Power of Soul - A tribute to Jimi Hendrix" with other artists such as Earth Wind & Fire, Prince, Sting, Eric Clapton, Lenny Kravitz, John Lee Hoker, Stevie Rey Vaughan, Santana, etc ...
As per its tradition, the entrance is free.
- CATEGORIES Music