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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 43 | volume VIII | July-August, 2005



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 43July-August, 2005
Sound Reviews

Skopje Blues & Soul 2005

p. 1
Vasja Ivanovski

    This year’s edition of the festival, ninth in the row, has once again proven itself as a quality music event which is already on the map of respected European blues festivals. Two nights (July 4, 5) with four participants offered plenty of enjoyment to local blues fans and music lovers in general. Blues has found its fertile soil in this part of Europe and probably Javier Vargas put it the best by saying that this is “Mississippi of Europe”! No cotton pickers, tobacco producers maybe and pure, honest blues sounds and entertainment was the order of the day!

    Music emphasis was on contemporary European blues scene which has a lot to offer, as blues lovers were able to witness in two hot July nights. Blues is now regarded as widely accepted and influential music form and has since established itself on the old continent.

    Raw Hide (Serbia and Montenegro), Vargas Blues Band (Spain), Coen Wolters Band (Holland) and Nine Below Zero (UK) played their hearts out, presenting different approaches to the idiom and audience could feel that and rewarded all bands with great anticipation.
    Raw Hide opened the proceedings on July 4th with their jumpy version of classic Chicago blues of the fifties. These Serbian guys are class act in their own, honing their craft together for more than twenty years and it showed perfectly in their performance.

Frontman Jovan Ilic did some great harmonica work while leading his band through a set of carefully chosen blues standards which gave plenty of opportunities to strecth out. With fine assistance of dual guitar work by brothers Stanosevic and tight rhythm section, Raw Hide were on the right track with audience all the way.

    Headliners of the evening were Vargas Blues Band from Spain who offered their brand of blues spiced with some Spanish traditional music elements. They played tracks from their latest album “Love, Union, Peace” plus some of their favourites from past releases which were instant crowd pleasers. Special surprise was inclusion of young vocalist Devon Allman, son of great Gregg Allman (Allman Brothers)! His vocals were absolutely great, reminding us at times of his father and he will definitely go places! Javier Vargas is world class guitar player who played with almost anybody who’s anybody in the business (Carlos Santana, B.B.King, Buddy Guy…) and he easily confirmed all attributes written about him in recent years. Blues fans loved every minute of Vargas Blues

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