39. Rawa Blues Festiwal
Linday Beaver and Hannah Wicklund fastened the proverbial buckle on Rawa Blues music festival in Katowice. The former began the series of final day concerts of stars, while the latter finished it with a powerful, rock-like accent.
The Canadian percussionist and vocalist Lindsay Beaver immediatelly set the tone and impetus for the day. Despite having only two accompanying musicians (guitar and contrabass) and a microphone and a simple percussion kit of her own, she managed to serve us not only blue, but also true, powerful rock’n’roll. There was also no shortage of cozier songs, as well as dialogues with the audience. Lindsay attracted us not only with her predatory voice, but also the colourful tattoos covering her arms.
After her concert Lindsay uncovered a big surprise for the youngest guests of Rawa Blues and together with Ireneusz Dudek (the festival’s director, if not its very soul) signed the children’s artistic works that they submitted for a specially organized competition.
The following artists to perform on the blues concert stage were the charismatic Californian guitarist Daniel Castro and the incredible pianist, vocalist and showman Victor Wainwright. As different as the two artists were, they were connected by their common fascination for blues and the inspirations from B. B. King, one of the greatest legends of the genre.
Victor Wainwright also told the audience of his other inspirations and mentors, especially his father and grandfather – both of them were professional musicians – and dedicated one of the songs to them. Another beautiful gesture was performing a composition that was specifically announced for Rawa Blues festival. This was the more nostalgic part of the show put forth by Victora Wainwright and the accompanying trio of musicians from The Train band. Most of the concert, however, was a frentic blue show.
Following that was a very warm welcome of two guitarists: James „Blood” Ulmer, a real professor of blues and jazz genres, and Vernon Reid, known mainly as founder of the rock/funk band Living Colour. It was a fascinating debate of two vastly different musical temperaments, each searching for new directions to take their art in.
And finally late in the evening came time to introduce the great talent from across the Atlantic – the young American vocalist and guitarist Hannah Wicklund with The Steppin’ Stones band.
Hannah knew how to charm the public with her two beautifully sung ballads, her overall stage presence, her long lush hair, her strong rock vocal and the sheer variety of sounds she could muster out of her yellow guitar. A great representation of female rock power.
As we listened to and watched her performance, we thought to ourselves: “how wonderful that someone has once invented such a beautiful noise”.
For the very last accent of 39th edition of Rawa Blues, Hannah Wicklund played Neil Young’s rock anthem Rockin’ in the Free World. With this, she shared her childhood memories, as this was the very first composition she has ever learned to perform and the first one she played during her debut on stage.
Next year Polish blues fans will be eagerly anticipating the anniversary 40th edition of this wonderful celebration of music. We can’t wait!
Original text by Rafał Jaworski.