The Best of Blues Edition #6: The Black Mamba & The Blues At Sea
There are few things that I love more than discovering new blues music. The modern day blues scene is thriving, and there is so much amazing music out there if you look for it. This is especially true if you venture outside of the more established American and British blues scenes. There are some brilliant international blues bands which receive little coverage in the UK or USA. And although they are not always easy to find, these bands are really helping to broaden my musical horizons.
They also illustrate the amazing way that the blues continues to grow and evolve. It is a genre of music that continues to inspire people and provide joy to listeners all over the world.
So this week, I would urge you to seek out new and different blues music. Listen to bands and albums you have never heard before. Explore different styles of the blues. It will open your eyes to all of the incredible artists out there and make you a better musician as a result.
The Black Mamba
In an effort to expand my own musical horizons, I discovered an amazing Portuguese band called The Black Mamba.
Formed in Portugal in 2010, in their own words, The Black Mamba fuse the world of ‘blues, soul and funk’. The band is driven by the powerful guitar playing and beautiful vocals of frontman Pedro Tatanka, who also has a career a solo artist, performing in his native Portuguese. Tatanka’s lead work is combined with a tight backing section and occasionally an accompanying horn section, which gives The Black Mamba a rich and varied sound.
Its also fuses the genres of blues, soul and funk together. For by no means do The Black Mamba play traditional blues music. Their compositions have a bluesy feel, but in a very loose and modern style.
The band have 3 studio albums, the most recent of which – The Mamba King – was released in 2018. Each of their albums features some beautiful songs, but my particular favourites are:
The Black Mamba are currently touring in Portugal. So if you are reading this from Portugal (or you are planning a holiday there anytime soon!), have a look at their upcoming gigs. You can find out their tour dates and get more information on any of the links below:
Even if you are unable to see The Black Mamba performing live, have a listen and let me know what you think! If you are looking for something slightly different to add to your playlist, which combines the feeling of the blues with the rhythmic precision and sound of soul and funk, I would highly recommend them.
Keeping The Blues Alive At Sea
In addition to discovering new blues music this week, I have very much enjoyed catching up on the footage from the ‘Keeping The Blues Alive at Sea’ Cruise.
The Keeping The Blues Alive Foundation is a charity that was founded by Joe Bonamassa in 2011. It funds music education programmes in schools all over the US, giving under privileged children access to music lessons and instruments. Since it launched, the charity has impacted 60,000 students and raised over $450,000.
To help the fundraising efforts, for the last 5 years, Bonamassa has organised an annual Blues cruise around the Caribbean. Some of the world’s best musicians get together and the audience are treated to 5 days of non-stop blues music. Due to the success of the Caribbean cruise, there is now a Mediterranean version that runs at the end of August each year.
Sadly I found out too late to make it this year. But the Mediterranean version of the Cruise is definitely on my hit list. If you are looking for your next holiday and want to combine a bit of sun with some amazing blues, then check it out. You can find more information on the Caribbean cruise here. And there’s more information on the Mediterranean version of the cruise here.
Obviously, a cruise around the Caribbean doesn’t come cheap. And even putting that to one side, I know that getting away isn’t always easy with other commitments. Especially if your significant other isn’t quite as enthusiastic as you are about 5 days of back to back blues jamming 😉
If that is the case, then fear not – blues enthusiast Natasha Cornblatt has recorded a huge number of the performances on her Youtube Channel. A lot of these are duets and jams between musicians that have never recorded together. And the quality of the musicianship is unreal.
Here are just a few of my favourite clips from this year’s cruise:
- Eric Gales & Joe Bonamassa – ‘Ballad of John Henry‘ (unbelievable guitar solos from both players!)
- Philip Sayce – ‘Steamroller/Love is a Powerful Thing’
- Eric Gales & Larkin Poe – ‘Baby Please Don’t Leave Me’
Well that’s it for this week. I hope you enjoy those clips as well as The Black Mamba. Have a great week of playing – and if there are any new blues bands that you’re enjoying listening to, pop them in the comments below, I’d love to hear them!