AYNSLEY LISTER BAND
“His guitar playing is a fire hazard” – MOJO
When explosive natural ability collides with fiery, emotionally charged compositions, the result is Aynsley Lister; an incredible guitarist whose brand of blues-based rock delivers contemporary song writing fuelled with the kind of heart and soul that’s missing from so much modern music.
Whether passionately writing and recording his own material or mesmerising audiences at his live shows one thing is abundantly clear: music is hard-wired to his DNA and flows from his fingertips like sonic bolts of lightning. With over 86,000 albums sold, lashings of critical acclaim and years of high profile touring, Lister’s resumé speaks for itself and firmly secures his position as a leading light in the resurgence of British blues-infused music.
De Valence – Friday.
THE GILES ROBSON BAND
Amazing blues harmonica player Giles Robson and his first class band are creating an incredible buzz around their dirty sweat down the walls twelve bar road house blues.
Giles’ debut album, “For those Who Need The Blues”, recorded completely live in one session captured the spontaneous dirty and rough blues sound that is gaining Robson and the band rave reviews and stellar audience reactions and the ear of V2 Records.
Think The Red Devils and the Fabulous Thunderbirds mixed with Little Walter and Muddy Waters. This is world class blues in its most dirty, primal, emotional and groovy state. It’s a sound that never fails to rock the house and knock out an audience. As Giles says “This is the sound of a whole band working together as a team. The magic of this sound is how it works together so well and almost telepathic connection between all of the band members and the fact that this band’s rhythm section understands how to REALLY groove.”
“For Those Who Need The Blues” was released on V2 Records across Europe and the UK in late 2016 and the band have been touring the UK throughout 2017 in support of the album.
We are especially pleased to have Giles perform for us as he was a protégé of our late president, Pat Grover.
“The sound and spontaneous feel of blues done right” Blues Matters magazine.
De Valence – Friday.
Thomas Ford is a one-man blues band in the true sense of the word. Thomas is a raucous bottleneck and fingerstyle blues guitarist though harmonica is his first instrument, and with a bullet mic attached to a neck rack he achieves a huge tone. In addition, years of irresponsible living have helped to develop a voice which rumbles and groans and spits out the words written on the back of cigarette packets.
Thomas completes his setup with a few bits of wood crudely nailed together, pickup added, to stomp down upon and keep a steady pulse. Not a cover artist, he writes his own material, taking from tradition rather than imitating. However, inspiration comes in the form of blues greats such as John Lee Hooker, Juke Boy Bonner, Son House, T Model Ford and more besides.
De Valence – Friday
Fourcroft Hotel – Friday
Adam first picked up a guitar aged 7. He took to it quickly, but the primary school guitar classes didn’t exactly set his imagination on fire. A brief foray into classical guitar also failed to provide the spark he needed, but his interest in the guitar continued to gently smoulder into his early teens. It was at this point that Adam was taken to see his first ever gig when The Hamsters came to play the Marine Theatre in his hometown of Lyme Regis, and suddenly things began hotting up.
Inspired by this first live experience, and with the help of some of his Dad’s old records, he began unearthing the classic rock riffs and driving blues of the 60s and 70s that he had been missing out on. It didn’t take long to form his first band with a couple of likeminded classmates and by the age of 15 they were performing regularly on the local circuit. In the years that followed Adam could regularly be found recreating the music of his new-found guitar heroes around the South West of England.
Since those early days Adam has steadily honed his craft and found his voice, and with well over 1,000 gigs under his belt is now successfully carving out a solo career.
Adam’s debut album ‘Small Town Thinking’ was released at the turn on 2013/14. With his acoustic guitar providing the foundation Adam and producer Alan West built the album from their Devon studio, calling on Alan’s long time friend and Nashville based producer Thomm Jutz to add a little extra magic in the form of some of Music City’s finest session players.
The album gathered critical acclaim throughout 2014 and received national and international radio play. Adam was featured in Classic Rock’s Blues Magazine as ‘One to Watch’ for 2014, and the rave reviews of the album included a full 5 star rating and ‘Album of the Month’ in Guitar Technique Magazine’s July 2014 edition, praising the album for offering a “whole new perspective on the (blues) genre”.
The start of 2017 has seen Adam release “Take Your Time” – a 5 track EP that presents Adam’s latest material in a stripped back acoustic format that perfectly captures the essence of his acclaimed one-man shows. The EP, performed and produced solely by Adam, features material co-written with his long-standing writing partner Steve Black, as well as a track written with founder member of Level 42, Boon Gould.
“Adam Sweet’s one of those undiscovered talents that, if there were any justice, would have been swept up by Jools Holland’s researchers long ago.”
Church House – Saturday
Fourcroft Hotel – Saturday
BELLA COLLINS & GARETH EVANS
Bella has been wowing audiences at Tenby Blues Festival since she first performed when very young at the late night session. Last year she brought her amazing band to the main stage (still very young!). This year she graces the acoustic stage in Church House with her duo partner, Gareth Evans, a Pembrokeshire chap now living in Cardiff. Gareth’s guitar work at times incredibly delicate, at others totally incendiary, is the perfect accompaniment to Bella’s smoky, heartfelt, Jazz tinged, near unique vocals. Despite favourable comparisons with Amy Winehouse and Bonnie Raitt, Bella is most definitely her own woman.
Church House – Saturday
VERONICA SBERGIA & MAX DE BERNARDI
“Good time blues is alive and well and residing in… Milan, Italy. A band with a mission” – Folk & Roots Magazine
Veronica Sbergia & Max De Bernardi passionately play country blues and ragtime, hokum, jug band and rural music from the 20’s and 30’s.They like to keep this precious musical heritage alive faithfully reproducing its original sound whilst playing it with a modern twist.
Using strictly acoustic instruments such ukulele, washboard, kazoo, resophonic guitars and double bass their passion for this music is perfectly represented on their last CD “OLD STORIES FOR MODERN TIMES”, that also sees contributions by other leading musicians and friends, Sugar Blue (a legendary harmonica player in the past with the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Willie Dixon and Frank Zappa) and the world master of resophonic guitar, Bob Brozman.
The album is an overview of the American popular music from the early years of the last century with the Red Wine Serenaders (as Veronica & Max were formerly known) reinterpreting great songs by artists like Big Bill Broonzy, Memphis Minnie, Jimmie Rodgers, Sidney Bechet, Lucille Bogan, Bo Carter, Delmore Brothers in their own unique style.
They won the European Blues Challenge 2013, an important international contest held in Toulouse in March. They were the first Italian artists ever invited to the Mustique Blues Festival ( 2012 and 2013), in the Caribbean. Awards notwithstanding, they are just an amazing good time live band!
Church House – Saturday
A literate songwriter, Ian is an original craftsman. Expressed through a distinctive bitter-sweet vocal delivery, Ian’s songs hold nothing back. His ability and willingness to share with his audience naked honesty and genuine emotion is what sets him apart from many.
Ian’s career took off in 2003, when he signed to Ruf Records. His debut album ‘INSIDE’ (Ruf1094) was released in October of that year. Further albums, live DVDs and extensive tours of Europe and the USA followed, with Ian always seeking new musical avenues to explore, never content to merely rehash old ideas, no matter how successful they may have been.
His journey has taken unexpected turns, testing his loyal following from time to time, but the integrity of his writing, the quality of his distinctive voice and the soulful nature of his signature guitar playing have always been the bedrock of his work.
Following the release of Politik Blues (Eye-Pea002) in April 2015, Ian refocused his attention on the Stratocaster-driven blues music he began building his reputation on, more than twenty years ago.
De Valence – Saturday
DOM PIPKIN AND THE IKOS
Dom Pipkin studied at the Guildhall School of Music and the Royal Academy of music in London, but found his restless spirit drove him to playing with jazz and blues bands as a more practical education.
He travelled the world with Errol Linton’s Blues Vibe, discovering the New Orleans piano sound of Dr John and Professor Longhair along the way. He has played and studied in New Orleans many times with Jon Cleary, and opened up on the piano for Dr John in 2006, and for Screamin’ Jay Hawkins in 1998.
He has recorded as a session player on many albums, including with David Byrne, Ray Davies, Cornershop, and Morcheeba on their million selling ‘Big Calm’ album. He has played solo piano for film director legend Stanley Kubrik, and ran a successful New Orleans music night at the world famous Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in London for two years with many great guest musicians visiting. Dom was Musical Director for British international pop sensation Paloma Faith, with countless TV, radio, and live appearances throughout the globe.
He is widely accepted one of the best interpreters of New Orleans piano in the UK, writes about and promotes New Orleans music, and leads the band ‘Dom Pipkin & the Ikos’, current favourites on the international festival and blues circuit – and this is the band he’s bringing to Tenby.
De Valence – Saturday
REBECCA DOWNES BAND
British Blues Female Vocalist 2016.
British Blues Emerging Artist 2016
Rebecca and her band are a ‘must see’ live act that often leaves newcomers simply blown away by the power of the performance. With her co-writer Steve Birkett alongside her, a very tight band behind, and Rebecca’s powerful voice to the fore, the 5-piece outfit performs original tracks from the EP Real Life, the highly-acclaimed debut album Back To The Start and the superb second album Believe, punctuated by a few classic covers. The core of their music is the Blues, but they embrace elements of rock, soul, funk and jazz to deliver an exciting, passionate performance.
Rebecca “has a whole range of what she can do with her voice. She tends to come across maybe live as mostly a big belter – yes she’s got that – but she’s got lots of subtlety as well”. Paul Jones BBC Radio2.
De Valence – Saturday
Harry Manx has been dubbed an essential link between the music of East and West, creating musical short stories that wed the tradition of the Blues with the depth of classical Indian ragas. His unique sound is bewitching and deliciously addictive to listen to.
Born on the Isle of Man, Manx spent his childhood in Canada and left in his teens to live in Europe, Japan, India and Brazil. He honed his hypnotic live show on street corners, in cafes, bars and at festivals. But it was Indian music that captured his attention and in the mid 80s he began a five-year tutelage with Rajasthani Indian musician Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (Grammy winner with Ry Cooder for A Meeting by the River). Receiving the gift of Bhatt’s custom-made, self-designed Mohan Veena (a 20-stringed sitar/guitar hybrid) was the catalyst for Harry to forge a new path with his now signature east-meets-west style of music. While the mohan veena itself is beyond exotic, Manx uses it within traditional Western sound structures.
Playing the Mohan Veena, lap steel, harmonica, stomp box, and banjo, Manx quickly envelops the audience into what has been dubbed “the Harry Zone” with his warm vocals and the hauntingly beautiful melodies of his original songs.
It’s in the live setting, Manx says, that the bridge between “heavenly” India and “earthy” American blues is most effectively built. “Indian music moves inward,” he explains. “It’s traditionally used in religious ceremonies and meditation, because it puts you into this whole other place. But Western music has the ability to move out, into celebration and dance. So when we play the Indian stuff on stage, it has the tendency to draw people into something really deep; they’ll get kind of quiet and spacey. Then we’ll play some more Western music, and it grounds them once more, they sort of come out of the mood the Indian music had put them in and get into the performance. I love to see that working — that effect on the audience. My goal has always been to draw the audience as deep as possible into the music.”
Manx is a prolific artist, releasing nine albums in a eight-year span with no signs of stopping. He has received seven Maple Blues Awards and his mantel shelf also holds honours from the Canadian Folk Music Awards, Vancouver magazine Georgia Straight, and the South Australia Blues Society. He received CBC Radio’s Great Canadian Blues Awards for 2007 and his albums have garnered five Juno nominations.
Blend Indian folk melodies with slide guitar blues, add a sprinkle of gospel and some compelling grooves and you’ll get Manx’s unique “mysticssippi” flavour. It’s hard to resist, easy to digest and keeps audiences coming back for more.
“Watching Harry play tonight I feel like I learned something new” Bruce Springsteen.
De Valence – Sunday
Senegalese musician Diabel Cissokho is part of the great line of Cissokho griots.
Diabel’s musical pedigree is exceptional. International tours with his family’s band Bannaya led to a long stint as Baaba Maal’s kora player, as well as with acclaimed musicians such as Kandia Kouyate, Pee Wee Ellis, Omar Pene, Cheikh Lo, Ernest Ranglin and Youssou N’Dour. Diabel’s virtuosic talent, his “resonant voice and rocking kora style” (Songlines), have been welcomed everywhere from WOMAD and Glastonbury to London’s Barbican, where he performed alongside Femi Kuti, Cheikh Lo and Manu Dibango.
Diabel’s success with bluesman Ramon Goose cemented his reputation as a versatile musician, able to effortlessly cross cultures. Their album Mansana Blues was lauded as “a flavoursome mix of slide guitar, mellow kora and undulating Mandinka rhythms” (fRoots) which “delivers moments of steamy pleasure” (Songlines).
A 2010 European tour culminated in the DNA Culture Project with Ramon, Robert Plant guitarist Justin Adams, Gambian riti player Juldeh Camara and bassist Julian Joseph at Dakar’s renowned venue Just4You.
Diabel’s 2012 album ‘Kanabory Siyama’ marked a return to his roots. Recorded in the UK and Dakar and featuring members of his own family, the album drew on Diabel’s rich musical heritage, blending beautiful Mandinkan melodies with an upbeat West African groove. His album received a four star review in Songlines magazine where he was also a featured artist on their Top of the World CD, as well as receiving nominations for Best Artist and Best Newcomer.
Alongside the album’s release, Diabel completed an extensive UK tour including the Back2Black festival and a spot at the UK’s leading world music festival WOMAD. As a regular performer with Africa Express, Diabel was part of the Africa Express train performing with some of Africa and the world’s most renowned musicians including Paul McCartney, Amadou and Mariam, Damon Albarn, Romeo Stodart, Matthieu Chedid, and more. Diabel also performed on ‘Later…with Jools Holland’ performing alongside Sinead O’Connor, again showing his versatility as an artist.
In 2014 Diabel had the premiere of his documentary, filmed by Estrella Sendra, about the history of the griots and how Diabel draws on his heritage as a griot and uses it in his life as a musician today. Following a successful 2015 international tour Diabel has been busy recording his upcoming release ‘Tambacounda Express, an album that draws on the eclectic mix of cultures that pass through the region where Diabel was born, Tambacounda in Senegal. With influences from Senegal, Mali, to Mauritania, Guinea, Niger, and Morocco, the result is a rhythmically, lyrically and melodically diverse collection of songs with strong roots in the blues, alongside the traditional Mandinkan melodies of his griot ancestry.
‘The Cissokho family have the benefit of a deep culture that goes back to the Middle ages where music occupies a central, life affirming position in society, along with a 21st century youthful dynamism that defies the world to ignore them. Groove, melody and soul, and those voices hitting you like an Atlantic wave, it’s irresistible.’
De Valence – Sunday