By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Blues Week returns for its second edition beginning Monday, May 26th at Bar do B. Located in the neighborhood of Laranjeiras, the venue is well known for its two weekly blues nights and will bring together some of Brazil’s most active names in the genre for the festival, which will run through Saturday, May 31st.
“The idea for the festival was born because musicians have been playing blues every Monday and Thursday for over five years in Bar do B,” Cesar Lago, programmer of the festival and bassist for Rio blues trio Beale Street, told The Rio Times.
“Last year Bernard [Bernard Fuerth, founder of Bar do B] asked me to organize a whole week dedicated to the blues. It was so successful that we are repeating it this year. Claudio Bedran [bassist for Blues Etílicos] is joining me this time to help with the production and programming.”
Scheduled as a winter event, the festival was moved up this year due to the upcoming World Cup and in celebration of the recently completed renovations to the venue.
Bernard Fuerth opened Bar do B in 1996 and through the bi-weekly blues nights the venue built up a name for itself, hosting many big names in the Brazilian and international blues scene including; Blues Etílicos; Álamo Leal; Americans J.J. Jackson and Russell Thomas, Jr.; and Spanish harmonica player Quique Gomez, among multiple others.
For each of the six nights of the festival there will be a host presenting and special guest performers. Guitarist Maurício Sahady will kick off the festival as hosting opening night with Gil Eduardo on percussion and Ugo Perrota on bass. Special guest, São Paulo native Giba Byblos, will be on guitar.
For the night of May 27th, Rio blues trio Beale Street will celebrate their 15th anniversary. Guitarist and vocalist of the trio Ivan Mariz will host with Beto Werther on percussion and festival co-programmer Cesar Lago on bass. Special guest guitarist Big Joe Manfra will also join the trio for the night.
“I think what makes the blues so good is the fact that it can be dense and feel overflowing but it also can be a party that makes everyone dance,” said Lago. “The blues is a lot like our samba, it’s the gathering of friends who meet to make sounds and lyrics that reflect our daily life; our joys and our sorrows.”
“Those are the reasons why the blues is an ideal genre for a festival here, a welcoming city that has a tradition of bringing people together for fun and the blues genre is a lot of fun.”
On the Wednesday, May 28th, special guest Dillo Araújo will host, playing with guitarist Big Gilson, drummer Pedro Strasser and bassist and co-programmer Claudio Bedran. The duo of vocalist Charles Zanol and guitarist Otávio Rocha will take over hosting duties on the 29th, as Beto Werther returns to the drum set and Ugo Perrota to the bass. Special guest, Décio Caetano will join them, bringing his guitar from Curitiba to show the crowd how the blues is done in Paraná.
On Friday, May 30th, guitarist Cristiano Crochemore will host with Guto Goffi on drums, Claudio Bedran on bass and special guest, Artur Menezes on guitar. Guitarist Álamo Leal will host the final night, ending the festival with a bang. Pedro Strasser will be there on drums, Cesar Lago back on bass and special guest, Flavio Guimarães of Blues Etilicos, will join to close things out in style.
“The idea of the festival,” Lago concluded, “is to show that Brazilians love the Blues. Bar do B as well as other places in Rio such as Café 247, Barzin, Botto Bar and Saloon 79, all host exclusive programming dedicated to this American rhythm that has been fully embraced by us Brazilians.”
What: Bar do B Blues Week
When: May 26th – May 31st. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, house opens at 8PM, shows begin at 9PM. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, house opens at 9PM, shows begin at 10PM.
Where: Bar do B, Rua Laranjeiras 90, Laranjeiras