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No Border Blues

Delmark recording artist and Chicago Blues Network faculty member Johnny Burgin and executive producer Stephanie Tice have launched the new No Border Blues video podcast, featuring Blues artists from Bollywood to Britain and beyond.

Burgin and Tice, passionate about their mission to elevate recognition of international Blues, spotlight artists who discuss the Blues scenes in their home countries and present intimate musical performances in their native languages as well as in English.

The 30-minute No Border Blues episodes air the 15th and last days of each month on the Chicago Blues Network YouTube channel.

Each No Border Blues episode shines a light on the unique ways Chicago blues can be seen through different cultural lenses, and how people from very different countries and backgrounds adopt the Blues as their own.

This new video podcast, sponsored by Chicago Blues Network, aims to shine a spotlight into the hidden blues scenes - "mesmerized clusters" - of serious Blues musicians and fans in places one might not expect; offering exclusive performances and intriguing cross-cultural exchanges.

"Stephanie and I were surprised and delighted to find hard-core blues fanatics in Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo - and that led to No Border Blues Japan, the first American compilation of the underground Japanese blues scene," Burgin said. "Our No Border Blues video podcast continues our journey to the cultural crossroads, shining a spotlight on international blues artists the world should know about."

Upcoming November No Border Blues podcasts:

* The No Border Blues podcast, airing November 15, will feature members of Sweden's house rockin' rhythm & blues band Trickbag.

Over an impressive 25-year career, Trickbag has released five CDs of original songs as well as serving as of the best back-up bands in the business, supporting numerous Blues artists when touring in Europe, including Junior Watson, Lynwood Slim and Burgin, himself.

* Airing November 30, Burgin and Tice welcome Belgium-based Ruf Records recording artist Ghalia Volt. The former Brussels busker broke out with her 2017 debut Let the Demons Out, a critical and creative success fusing the groove of New Orleans with her own punk rock attitude.

Her current release, Mississippi Blend, continues to pay tribute to the American South. It was recorded in the award-winning Zebra Lounge operated by Cody and Luther Dickinson, sons of the award-winning producer Jim Dickinson, and features Cody (North Mississippi Allstars) on drums, while Volt sings up a storm while also playing soulful dobro and slide guitar.

Past episodes now available for streaming on the Chicago Blues Network YouTube channel include:

* Folkestone, UK-based singer-songwriter and Blues harmonica player Katie Bradley came into the spotlight with her 2012 iTunes Blues hit, "I hear the river," which received a nomination for Best Original Song in the British Blues Awards.

She continues to ascend, supporting and collaborating with artists across the world including Lucky Peterson, Tail Dragger, Georgie Fame, Geno Washington, and Kirk Fletcher, to name a few.

Bradley's stage presence, talent and luminosity win her new followers and her harp playing often sets her apart.

* Lorenzo "Mumbles" Albai is the singer and harmonica player for Jesus On a Tortilla, from the little town of Saronna, near Milan, Italy.

For 11 years, Albai and band have been playing their brand of hard-core, retro, '40s and '50s Chicago blues in France, Poland, Switzerland and their native Lombardia.

On No Border Blues, Albai explains the meaning behind his band's unique name and how playing their brand of almost-antiquated Chicago Blues in the osterias of Milan's suburbs is truly a leap of faith.

* Sony India recording artist Aki Kumar, aka "The only Bombay Blues Man," left his home in Mumbai with the intention of working as a software engineer in Silicon Valley. Then he discovered the Blues, and his life dramatically changed.

Singing and playing harmonica, Kumar steeped himself in the music and became a fixture in Blues clubs throughout Northern California. He's garnered international acclaim for his "Bollywood Blues," a unique, audacious blend of Chicago-style Blues and elements of Indian music.

Hear Kumar reveal how his song, "Tiyachu" (a not-very-polite name in Hindi) slyly suggests that no one, even the singer, himself, is immune from applying implicit bias to the people around them.

* Ashesh Dangol, a guitarist and singer based in Kathmandu, plays music reflecting his love of Jimi Hendrix and Muddy Waters, as well as his immersion in the rich musical heritage of his homeland.

Dangol has done much to generate a Nepalese Blues scene; growing a fan base through extensive gigging, organizing events and starting the Blues Society of Nepal.

Since the pandemic, he's been producing the "Blues for a Cause" livestream, which has featured dozens of artists worldwide.

On the podcast, Dangol speaks of his activism in his native country, his experiences touring in Texas, and his blending of Nepalese music with the string-bending of the American blues guitar masters.


Comments welcome.


Posted on November 11, 2020

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