By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This weekend, from Friday, August 31st to Sunday, September 2nd fans of blues and rock music can enjoy three nights and two days of live performances, craft beers and excellent food at Urca Blues Festival on the shores of the Praia Vermelha (Red Beach) in Urca.
Following on from the successful editions of Niterói Blues Festival, Teresópolis Blues Festival and Barra Blues Festival, Blues Rock Festival are now bringing a varied musical program featuring blues, rock, soul, folk and country to the shores of Urca.
On Friday, August 31st, the festival will kick off at 5PM with a performance from ‘Perlla Cortazzo & a Roda de Blues’ (Perlla Cortazzo & the Circle of Blues) a six-piece band who play traditional blues with influences of jazz and soul. Think BB King, Dave Brubeck and Janis Joplin having a jam.
Next up on Friday are ‘Filhos de Rosemary Blues Co.’ (Sons of Rosemary Blues Co.) a five-piece who play a set list filled with classic blues such as Freddie King, Otis Redding and Howlin’ Wolf.
The first evening will be capped-off with a special performance by Taryn Kern Szpilman, singer and artistic director of Rio Jazz Orchestra. She is famous as the Brazilian voice of Elsa in Frozen and for her uncanny interpretation of Billie Holiday.
Saturday has a packed-out schedule, from 12 noon to 11PM. Highlights include a performance by blues guitarist Gilli Emmanuel, rock ‘n’ roll guitarist Dauro Prates, and a set by Rock’a’Bolics. They are a three-piece who play rock classics from the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, AC/DC, and Jimi Hendrix.
Attendees on Saturday can also look forward to a set from RJ Café Band, featuring double-bassist Marcello Picorelli, who used to play with legendary bluesman Celso Blues Boy. They pay tribute to the giants of Brazilian rock, such as Cazuza, Raul Seixas and Legião Urbana, but they also make room for some international numbers courtesy of Eric Clapton and The Doors, to name a few.
Closing Saturday night will be folkrock/bluesgrass act ‘Corcel Mágico’ (Magic Charger) followed by Kleber Dias, a carioca musician and luthier who is well-renowned for his blues guitar playing.
There’ll be no let up on Sunday, with performances from jazzy trio Club Soda, followed by rock ‘n’ blues act ‘Parada Noturna’ (Night Stop) and then a full set of Led Zeppelin courtesy of the tribute act ‘Olhos de Led’ (Eyes of Led).
Sunday will be headlined by superstar harmonica player Flávio Guimarães, formerly of ‘Blues Etílicos’ (Ethnic Blues), who will be collaborating with Blues Groovers in what is sure to be a spectacular end to a varied and high-quality weekend of music.
It’s not only music that will be bringing the crowds. Urca Blues Festival will also be operating the largest barbecue grill in Rio de Janeiro, serving steaks, ribs and much more courtesy of chefs Fernando Fernandes, creator of the Festival, and Eduardo Rodrigues, master barbecuer.
According to Fernando Fernandes, executive director of Corporate Events Brasil, and organizer of the event, “The Blues Festival has shown that it has come to stay. Since a first edition in May 2017 in Barra da Tijuca, there were already many people asking me what would be next.” he says.
Throughout the weekend there will be a dedicated kids area, so that the whole family can enjoy the event, plus many craft beers on offer and food stands serving a variety of snacks.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you bring one kilogram of non-perishable food, you get free entry to the event. This is sure to be great fun for anyone who has recently visited the Mississippi Delta Blues Bar, or went over to the Rio das Ostras Jazz and Blues Festival earlier this year, or for those who simply can’t wait for the postponed Lagoa Blues Festival to get here.
What: Urca Blues Festival
When: Friday, August 31st – Sunday, September 2nd; times vary
Where: Praça General Tibúrcio, Urca 22290-240, RJ
Entrance: Free with 1kg of non-perishable food, otherwise R$10