All the musicians participating in the festival are bringing their own breed of Blues from different parts of the US
At a meet and greet in a city hotel where all the Mahindra Blues artists slated to perform at the festival converged, there was one thing in common. All the artists are bringing in their own breed of the Blues, from various parts of the US.
Lil’Ed’s (and The Imperials) name fits him perfectly, for he’s the shortest of the five musicians. He is actually Lil Ed Williams but prefers being referred to as Lil’ Ed. A slide guitarist, singer and songwriter, Lil’ Ed is happy to be in a different setting and play the blues. “I have been all over the world and have heard Indian music at concerts and festivals, but have always wanted to see the country. I am happy to be in country that has always fascinated me.” Lil’Ed took to the blues when his uncle Hutto pegged him on to it.
The giant among all is Mississippi born and bred Zac Harmon who brings his town’s style of passionate and soulful renditions. An actor and also one who has done many commercials, performing live is what gives Zac a kick. “I am from Mississippi and I’d like to tell you that that is the place where the blues originated in America. You breathe the blues there and it’s our culture,” says Zac who has seen India only on American television. “I hope to see a tiger and an elephant. (Laughs) Yesterday I went out to the market and bought myself a small drum. My culture is all about drums. A lot of the modern R & B and hip hop culture is based on Indian rhythms. Music is medicine and I feel I am a doctor. I feel I have something to say and I feel I have an audience here to listen to me”.
Texan Jimmy Vaughn, who couldn’t make it last year due to a mild heart attack, is happy to be at the festival and bring his style of the blues that has jazz and blues rock influences. Beginning at the age of 12, he ran away from home to see the world and lucky for him today the legend has won four Grammy for his work. Vaughn has listened to Indian music, particularly Bollywood films though he has not seen or met any Indian artist. “I like the style of the melody that these songs have, it’s very similar to a far style of the blues if you listen to a particular song” says the 62-year-old Vaughan. Excited to be here for the first time, Vaughan hopes to look around and take a few memories back home. “It’s like coming to a different planet, this is something I have never seen before.”
Lastly Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi who will perform the final act on Sunday, bring their pure blues to Indian audiences. “We are new to India and hope to find a few fans who will love our rock blues sound” signs off Derek Trucks.