Cultural Outreach

A Decade of the Mahindra Blues Festival

Mumbai’s ionic Mehboob Studios was center stage for the world’s finest Blues musicians on February 8 and 9. It was a special evening as the Mahindra Blues, Asia’s largest Blues festival, celebrated a decade of bringing together some of the biggest and best Blues artists from around the world.

Headlining this year’s line-up was Blues icon and eight-time Grammy winner, Buddy Guy. The Blues legend, who is a vocalist and guitarist, has made four appearances at the festival, in his signature beret and silk shirts.

The Homegrown Blues Collective opened Day 1 of the festival. With names such as guitarist Ehsaan Noorani and keyboardist Loy Mendonsa, Soulmate, Kanchan Daniel and Arinjoy Sarkar of the Arinjoy Trio, as part of the line-up, these artists presented original material instead of rendering covers.

Keb Mo’, the five-time Grammy winner performed next and the day ended with a soulful performance by Kenny Wayne, an American singer, songwriter and guitarist. The Mahindra Blues Band Hunt winner – Quiet Storm -- also performed their original numbers. A family of four from Meghalaya, they emerged as the winners by battling it out with Blues bands from across the country.

Buddy Guy performing his chartbusters at the Mahindra Blues festival
Buddy Guy performing his chartbusters at the Mahindra Blues festival

Day two of the Mahindra Blues festival witnessed performances by Larkin Poe, an American band fronted by sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell. Quiet Storm, also performed on Day two, and the Blues legend Buddy Guy closed the festival. And as per the Mahindra Blues tradition, Guy was joined by Shepherd, Mo’, the Lovell siblings and Rudy Wallang for the All Star Jam.

In 2010, this festival was initiated to make Mumbai the destination for the Blues genre, and it has provided a great platform for Indian Blues bands to showcase their skills. The festival has managed to cut across age groups and has found an audience in Bollywood celebrities, indie music lovers, corporate suits and hard-core Blues lovers from all over the world.

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