Curaçao BlueSeas Festival celebrates fifth edition

Friday 10 April and Saturday 11 April Pietermaai will be all about the blues again during the fifth edition of the Curaçao BlueSeas Festival. Once again the free street festival presents a fine selection of international blues talents on the various stages in the historical area.

Like many artists Annika Chambers began singing in church. But it wasn’t until her two tours of duty in the US Army that she realized the gift she had. Returning to the US, she formed her own band, Annika Chambers and The House Rules Band. After winning Best New Artist 2015 at the Blues Music Awards, Chambers saw her second album, Wild & Free, enter the Billboard Blues Album Chart at number 7. Her third and latest album, the brilliantly named Kiss My Sass, was released last year.

Eugene Bridges was born in New Orleans and raised in Amite. He sang in a gospel group with his four brothers as a teen, formed his own R&B band and at age 16 joined the US Air Force, playing in an Air Force band. Now mixing contemporary blues with the gospel from his past, Bridges has been touring the world with his Eugene “Hideaway” Bridges Band for many years. He has a range of albums to his name; the latest, Live In Tallahassee, was released in 2018.

Taking the R&B, soul, and gospel on which she was raised and blending them with the blues, garage, rock ‘n’ roll, and roots that she discovered herself, Nikki Hill found her own sound. Hill released her third album, Feline Roots, in 2018, and now tours with her own band, featuring her husband Matt Hill on guitar.

One of eleven children, Ron Artis II developed his multi-instrumental prowess playing in the Artis Family Band, quickly taking to the piano and guitar as his main instruments. Growing up in Hawaii, he grabbed the attention of other musicians there as well as on the mainland and was invited to play with the likes of Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac), Jack Jones, Booker T Jones, and G Love. He formed his own band The Truth and released his debut album, Soul Street, in 2018.

Blues singer and guitarist SaRon Crenshaw learned to play his instrument at the tender age of ten. A great blues lover, Crenshaw has been inspired by some of the greatest singers and players of all time, such as Albert King, Albert Collins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Buddy Guy.. Performing ‘intensely’ at blues venues and festivals around the North American east coast and building a large following there. Crenshaw released his second album, Drivin’, in 2017.

Soul blues singer Sugaray Rayford hails from Texas and started singing as well as playing the drums in church. Growing up with gospel and soul, he moved towards contemporary music at age 12 and turned to blues afterwards. Rayford released his first solo album in 2010 and now has six to his name. The latest, 2019’s Someone Save Me, received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album. Last year, he was awarded Soul Blues Artist of the Year at the Blues Music Awards.

American singer and songwriter Terrie Odabi performs original blues straight from the soul. Or, as one US journalist put it: “Terrie Odabi is easily the most dynamic blues and soul woman to have emerged in the Bay Area since Etta James came out of San Francisco in the fifties.”. Her 2016 debut album, My Blue Soul, was received well and her voice and stage presence are praised by many.

Growing up in a family of blues musicians, pianist and singer Victor Wainwright formed his own bands from a young age. After enjoying time with previous bands Southern Hospitality and Victor Wainwright & the WildRoots, he formed The Train in 2017. The band released their self-titled debut album the year after, which received a Grammy Award nomination and 2018’s Best Played Contemporary Blues Album of the Year Award. Wainwright himself has won numerous Piano Player of the Year awards.

The full line-up is as follows:

Friday 10 april: Annika Chambers, Eugene “Hideaway” Bridges, SaRon Crenshaw Band, Victor Wainwright & The Train

Saturday 21 april: Nikki Hill, Ron Artis II & The Truth, Sugaray Rayford Band , Terrie Odabi

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