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The easy, Blues-y feeling is back

In its second edition, The Mahindra Blues Festival is bigger and better. In addition to a line-up of some of the best Blues bands from across the world, this time around, you can stop by a Blues bar, savour a Sunday brunch or pick up cool memorabilia

Five-time Grammy winner Buddy Guy, Robert Randolph, Taj Mahal Trio, John Lee Hooker Jr and award-winning Serbian Blues guitarist Ana Popovic -- these international Blues musicians are going to enthrall the audience over this weekend at the second edition of the Mahindra Blues Festival. In addition, three homegrown bands -- Soulmate, Backstratblues and Overdrive Trio -- will make sure the audience has a musical experience they will never forget.


Serbian blues guitarist Ana Popovic will be performing on Sunday

After the huge success of the festival last year, the expectations from the second edition are even bigger. Owen Roncon, the director of Oranjuice Entertainment, which produces the festival, feels that the only thing they want to make sure of is that the audience has a great time. "It's about the experience. There's fantastic music, food and it's a great venue. So, we hope people have a fantastic experience," he says.


From Sidd Coutto, Warren Mendonsa and Johan Pais of Blackstratblues

Roncon admits he did not expect it to become such a huge success: "There was huge apprehension about how such a festival would be received. When we approached our chief sponsor, a top official told me if you believe in something, you should do it. That's how it happened." 


John Lee hooker Jr will be performing this Saturday

This year, apart from the gigs, there's plenty more to look forward to. "There is a Blues lounge, which will have photographs, impressions and interesting memorabilia of old Blues musicians. It's like an old Blues bar in Chicago," informs Owen.

Apart from the two stages, there is a viewing gallery, for people to sit back and watch the gig on a large screen. "If people don't want to stand in a crowd and watch, they can enjoy the music with a few drinks at this gallery," he adds. There are also exhibits by a few brands including Matsya, It's Our Studio, The Big Bag Theory, Wear Your Opinion and more selling quirky, home d �cor, lifestyle products, ancient handicrafts and a lot more. There is a workshop, Sunday Bunch and a recording theatre as well.

Owen admits that it took between six to eight months to put this festival together. "There are so many musicians to choose from. To get dates is difficult; we start with 200 and end up with eight," he admits. So, what does he feel about this time's line-up, "Buddy Guy is the master. So, he was a natural choice.

John Lee Hooker Jr brings a completely new flavour to Blues and Ana Popovic is a fantastic guitarist and the only woman who is part of the line-up." Talking about the Indian bands, he says, Soulmate is fantastic as a Blues band. "When I heard Backstratblues at BlueFrog, I was blown and wanted them to be part of the festival," he admits.

"It was amazing. I got a call from them asking to be part of the festival," says Warren Mendonza of Backstratblues. "Before this festival there was just the One Tree festival. This festival is putting Blues out there for us. Blues is very rootsy music. Some people play traditional Blues while some artists draw from the Blues," he says. "Blues is the simplest form of music. It's story-telling to music," adds Owen. "Almost all great musicians have been influenced by the Blues. Blues is the root, everything else is the fruit," he signs off.

On: February 11 and 12
At: Mehboob Studios, Bandra.
Entry: Rs 2,500 for one day, Rs 4,000 season ticket and Rs 10,000 for Premier Lounge
Tickets available at: Bookmyshow.com
Log on to: www.mahindrablues.com

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