After trying piano and saxophone, Bernard felt in love at the age of 15 with the guitar. In a finger-picking style, he plays traditional delta blues, Piedmont blues, and american folk music during 10 years. Listening for jazz since ever, he started then swing-dancing where he became a world renowned dancer. Mixing his new passion with the music, he started to play swing music, introducing finger picking style into traditionnal jazz. In love with swing, early jazz, New-Orleans, Ragtime and blues, he plays in different groups (the Raggedy Junkers …) and love to mix the styles.
Hot Engines Band
Hot Engines Band — is a group of diverse musicians who once tried to play blues together, and now can’t stop, since blues is the best way to express through music everything that is going your soul. Deep and personal, impetuous and cheerful, joy, sadness, perseverance, and calmness – all this is in the blues. And want to share all of these to feel together musical experiences. For this, there are all shades in the repertoire: Bessie Smith, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, Albert King, Gary Moore, Beth Hart … – each of these great authors added some important and profound emotion, their experience. Hot Engines Band is going through all this again and again.
Aleksandr Belkin (vocal, acoustic and resophonic guitars, harp) is the leader of “The Road Band”. The author of the most of the original songs of the band. He has the diplomas of Vilnius Conservatory and VPU. Before he formed “The Road Band”, he used to play in many jazz, blues and rock’n’roll bands. He played in the first Lithuanian blues band “Hilda Blues Band”. With those bands he toured many European countries. In 1999 as a member of The Country Blues Session Band he participated in Country Europe international contest in Mragowo, Poland. The band won the second award there. Aleksandr has released his 2 solo blues albums “Real Love” and “Black Papa”. Apart from his playing in “The Road Band”, Aleksandr Belkin participates in many music projects together with famous Lithuanian musicians, also plays with foreign musicans. The most famous are Keb’ Mo’ (1996 in Holland), Studebaker John (2007 in Lithuania), Ian Siegal (2009 in Lithuania), Kenny Neal (2010 – jam session in Palanga, Lithuania) and Larry Garner (2011m. jam session in Vilnius). Sometimes, Aleksandr makes gigs with big bands. Aleksandr Belkin is described in the book “Who is who in Lithuania” (2002, 2006) He has written and published the book “A brief history of Jazz” supplied with CD (publishing house “Kronta”). In the festival “Blues Nights” on 2003 he’s got a “Golden string” award. On 2003 and 2008 in the “Country Saloon” in Vilnius A. Belkin won a Grand Prix in the contest of cazoo playing.
Christine And The Blue Drags
Christine And The Blue Drags are a one-of-a-kind quartet, a perfect blend of young talent and experience on various stages in Poland and around the world. The band members are: Christine, a singer with an extraordinary, sensual voice, and a talented dancer too; HarpSlav, a versatile harmonica player with several national competition awards under his belt ; Johnny Blues, an excellent experienced drummer; and Little Boogie Slim, a multi-instrumentalist who sings and plays the guitar and keys, to name just a few of his skills. His earlier band, Chicago Blues Revue, represented Poland at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, USA.
They share a deep fascination with old school blues, jazz, swing and soul. They are inspired by artists such as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Little Walter, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Ella Fitzerald, or Nina Simone. Their shows are a return to the roots of the blues and the times when the blues combined various musical influences and was the music to which people danced in juke joints.
Slav and Slim have been playing together since November 2016 when they performed a pre-war standard Blue Drag at Fiesta Harmonica Festival in Poland. In February 2017, they played their first show as The Blue Drags at Valentine’s Blues festival in Warsaw, and Krysia sang a few songs with them as a guest. This improvised trio created some really good vibes and instantly won the hearts of the audience. No wonder that they decided to keep on playing together, with a special focus on blues dance parties. In the fall of 2017 they were joined by Janek, an experienced drummer, a regular at some of the best jam sessions in Warsaw, giving more power and flavour to the band’s sound. Since then, they have played at numerous music venues in Warsaw (Valentine’s Blues Festival 2018 and Autumn Blues 2018). They also played at Blues Meets Balboa, an event organized by SwingConnection Leipzig (Germany). Last, but not least, they had a fantastic time playing, dancing and chilling at Bluesila 2018, and they will be more than happy to play for you again this year. 🙂