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Buddy Guy to Headline Mahindra Blues Fest

Jonny Lang, Shemekia Copeland, Matt Schofield make up other international acts at inaugural edition of annual blues festival

Rolling Stone IN Jan 24, 2011

Blues legend and five-time Grammy winner, Buddy Guy, will make his third trip to India for the just-announced Mahindra Blues Festival due to be held in Mumbai on February 5 and 6. Also taking stage at this weekend festival will be guitarist and singer Jonny Lang; singer and daughter of the legendary Johnny Copeland, Shemekia Copeland; guitarist Matt Schofield; and Indian blues bands Soulmate, Saturday Night Blues Band and The Luke Kenny Mojo Jukebox. Speaking at the press conference announcing this festival, Anand Mahindra, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of the Mahindra Group, shared his dreams of making Mahindra Blues one of the biggest blues festivals outside United States, the home-country of this genre. “The blues, an American art form, ironically doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves in the country of its origin, and indeed, around the world. We would like the Mahindra Blues Festival to give this genre of music and overseas platform in the way that Montreux has done for jazz,” he said.

Buddy Guy, 74, acknowledged as a pioneer of the Chicago Blues, has earlier brought his brand of swashbuckling blues to Mumbai and Delhi in 2007 for the now-defunct One Tree Music Festival.  His latest album, Living Proof, has just been nominated in the Best Contemporary Blues Album category at the Grammys ”“ the results for which will be announced a week after the Mumbai gig. Jonny Lang, 29, first burst onto the blues scene as a 16-year-old when he released his 1997 album, Lie to Me. His mature style of singing and playing caught the attention of veteran bluesmen like BB King and Eric Clapton who went on to invite him for tours and festivals, including the latter’s Crossroads Guitar Festival.

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Another young blues talent is Shemekia Copeland, 31, who cut her teeth touring with her father, Texas bluesman, Johnny Copeland. The vocalist has, since then, shared the stage with names like Buddy Guy, BB King and John Mayer. Briton Matt Schofield is a respected blues guitarist who blends the genre with rock and jazz.

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