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US GRANNY SYDNEY ELLIS HEADS NEW FESTIVAL

Top Pick: Yes Mama: blues comes to town

A DIXIELAND music parade performing traditional jazz and blues and accompanied by majorettes will march the streets of central Bratislava on the afternoon of June 6. Their aim is to lure passersby to the first annual Blues City Festival opening that evening.
Over the following two nights, a handful of local and international blues musicians will deliver live performances on three different stages. After the parade culminates in a concert on the Main Square, blues lovers will then be invited to move on to the nearby Culture and Leisure Park (PKO) on the Danube river embankment, where four bands will share a stage.
Starting at 20:00, the PKO show on June 6 will culminate in a concert by Sydney Ellis, an American blues and jazz singer.


ELLIS will kick off Bratislava's first annual Blues City Festival at PKO on June 6.
photo: Courtesy of Rock Pop

A DIXIELAND music parade performing traditional jazz and blues and accompanied by majorettes will march the streets of central Bratislava on the afternoon of June 6. Their aim is to lure passersby to the first annual Blues City Festival opening that evening.

Over the following two nights, a handful of local and international blues musicians will deliver live performances on three different stages. After the parade culminates in a concert on the Main Square, blues lovers will then be invited to move on to the nearby Culture and Leisure Park (PKO) on the Danube river embankment, where four bands will share a stage.

Starting at 20:00, the PKO show on June 6 will culminate in a concert by Sydney Ellis, an American blues and jazz singer.

Ellis, a grandmother of five, will perform with the Yes Mama Band, an acoustic ensemble featuring a piano, contrabass, drums and tenor sax. With this band Ellis draws from a repertoire of about 200 songs by 45 different singers, including Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and Louis Armstrong.

"With her voice she manages to sing everything from blues to soul, while her own compositions are influenced by her Afro-American origin," said Silvia Turnerová from the Rock Pop Bratislava agency, the festival's organiser.

"Blues in fact originated from west African music techniques and rhythms and a more than 400-year tradition of mixing them with European musical instruments," she said.

The evening will also feature one of Europe's most acclaimed harmonica players, the Slovak Buddhist monk Erich "Boboš" Procházka, who will lead his blues band The Frozen Dozen. His performance will be followed by that of Czech Ondrej Konrád and his Gumbo band, and later by Austrian guitarist Hans Theessink.

Next day, starting at 16:00, the father of the Slovak blues, Ján Litecký-Šveda, will rock the Main Square with his Víťazný traktor (Triumphant Tractor) band. He will later be spelled by Slovak bands The City, El Gaucho and Babylon. At 21:00 Slovak jazzman Peter Lipa will perform with blues friends Silvia Josifoská & Igor "Aidzi" Sabo, Martin Zajko, René Lacko, Martin Gašpar, Ondrej Konrád and Peter Lipa Jr. at the Metro Club.

Blues City Festival concerts in Bratislava start on June 6 at 20:00 at Park kultúry a oddychu (Culture and Leisure Park - PKO), Nábr. arm. gen. L. Svobodu 3, Tel: 02/5441-5826; on June 7 at 16:00 on Hlavné námestie (Main Square) and at 21:00 in Metro Club, Suché mýto (underground). Tickets (Sk99 for June 6 and Sk150 for June 7 to Metro Club) are available at PKO or Dr. Horák, Medená 19, Tel: 02/5443-5667.

By Zuzana Habšudová

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