33. Rawa Blues Festival
October 5th 2013
Keb' Mo' Band (USA), Otis Taylor Band (USA), James Blood Ulmer & Irek Dudek Duo (USA/Polska), Heritage Blues Orchestra (USA/Francja), Ruthie Foster (USA), The Stone Foxes (USA)
The Jan Gałach Band, HooDoo Band, 2 Late, Marek Tymkoff Trio
2 Late, The Blues Experience, Cheap Tobacco, The Harpagans, Open Blues, Paweł Izdebski Akustycznie, Robert Kordylewski, Willie Mae Unit
„Spodek” is like the forgotten sanctuary, where blues fans arrive annualy. The prize given by Blues Foundation in Memphis and the last year Robert Cray's show obligated Irek Dudek to keep the highest level of line – up.
The Off Stage hosted among others Open Blues and Cheap Tobacco, that won the contest. That band performed again on The Main Stage, next to the winners of Internet voting - Tymkoff Trio. Spectators saw also other Polish artists: Hoodoo Band and Jan Gałach Band with Karolina Cygonek as the vocalist.
The Stone Foxes began the parade of foreign stars. Guys from California treated blues as the catalyst of their own experiments. Effect? The unusual version of traditional Willie Dixon tune „Spoonful” and a lot of spontaneous jams mixed with psychodelic trips.
The next artist was Ruthie Foster – a little girl with a big acoustic guitar, surrounded by three musicians of Family Band. The power, scale and colour of her voice held the spectators breaths. She sang warm, sweet and with a lot of emotions, sculpturing music from blues, gospel, soul and jazz. This concert was definitely too short...
The presence of Heritage Blues Orchestra in the festival line – up was a little surprise. Their album And Still I Rise was nominated to Grammy Awards in 2012. The core of the band include: the guitarist and vocalist Bill Sims Jr., his daughter – the vocalist Chaney Sims and the polymath electric guitarist Junior Mack. Their voices and rhytmic accompaniment prepared the ground for extraordinary events with the drummer, the brass section and the fantastic harp player Vincent Bucher.
That concert was the magical journey across the wilderness of American music. Fans could hear pieces of country, New Orlean jazz, gospel, chain gang songs and the raw, electric Chicago blues. They hypnotized building sophisticated structures – close to free jazz – from simple themes.
James Blood Ulmer visited Rawa Blues a few times, but always with something new. That time, we could listen to him in duo with…Irek Dudek. Musicians showed specific blues improvisations based on well – know tunes, scales and moods. The harsh, low voice and the flow sound of Ulmer's guitar were stoked up by the Dudek's harp. Their common music associated with movie soundrack, tracks were connected offering the variety of moods.
The quartet led by Keb’ Mo’ created soft, juicy version of blues. Elegant and unhampered, too... Never before, there were so many catchy tunes at Rawa Blues, covered in sophisticated arrangements and subtle colours. Keb’ Mo’ enchanted fans not only with his velvet voice, beautiful phrase and music culture, but also with the armory of guitar tricks. The artist had a great support in his band. Spectators forced them to play two tasty enocres, after several tunes.
Otis Taylor and his band appeared on the stage as the last ones during that edition of Rawa Blues. His music was like a drug, providing fans a dynamic, loud amplitude. It was clear, that his studio recordings couldn't be compared with their live potential. The leader was like a shaman, putting spells on the spectators with his harsh voice and the intrusive electric guitar. In addition, some „evil creatures” (the violinist Ann Harris in her theatrical way of performing a nd the guitarist Shawn Starsky) were around him.
The artists played in trance, presenting the collage of various themes (for example „Amazing Grace” as the violin solo), some parts appeared and disappeared suddenly, sometimes also as the result of the interaction between Taylor and the listeners. It was the incredible, psychodelic show. Encoring Otis Taylor Band, just before midnight finished that edition of Rawa Blues Festival. It goes without saying: very good edition from the artistic point of view...