By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Sunday, June 21st Vivo Rio will host the 2015 Samsung Blues Festival. The night will include performances by American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ben Harper, acclaimed blues harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite, and Brazilian singer-songwriter and harmonica player Flávio Guimarães.
The festival started in São Paulo, running there for three days beginning on Thursday, June 18th. On the first day Ari Borger, Jimmie Vaughn and The Tilt-a-Whirl Band featuring Lou Ann Barton and George Benson performed. The second day saw performances by Fávio Guimaraes, Charlie Musselwhite and a solo acoustic performance by Ben Harper.
On the 20th, the final day in São Paulo, Nuno Mindelis will perform and Jimmie Vaughan and The Tilt-a-Whirl Band will return for another show.
In Rio de Janeiro the festival will last only one night with Flávio Guimaraes starting the event; Charlie Musselwhite following and Ben Harper headlining with his solo acoustic show.
Harper is a Californian musician, known for his smooth vocals and ability to play multiple instruments including the slide guitar. He has received critical acclaim for his skillful blending of the sounds of blues, soul, reggae, rock, and folk.
He is well known in Brazil for his collaborations with Brazilian singer Vanessa da Mata. Their song, “Boa Sorte (Good Luck),” was a number-one hit in Brazil and the Mata album that included the single, won the Latin Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Brazilian Pop Album.
Harper had teamed up with Musselwhite, a legendary American electric blues harmonica player, in 2012 to create the Get Up! album. Musselwhite said in a released statement; “Ben and I really locked in, personally and musically, when we recorded with John Lee Hooker. Ever since then we wanted to record together and being in the studio together is just a natural. You can hear it and feel it in the music on Get Up!”
Following the album’s release and their 2013 Rock in Rio festival performance on the Palco Sunset (Sunset Stage), the record went on to win the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Blues Album.
Considered a legend in his own right, Brazilian harmonica player Flávio Guimarães, founded the group Blues Etílicos in 1986 in Rio de Janeiro. During his career Guimarães has also previously performed with Charlie Musselwhite as well as Ed Motta, Zeca Baleiro, and Buddy Guy, among others.