This documentary film directed by Igor Modrić gives a biographical insight into the life of the cosmopolitan, nomad, musician, fantastic bluesman and ‘rambler’ Jerry Ricks. The American from Philadelphia, who spent the last period of his life in the town of Kastav, couldn’t have imagined that a memorial blues festival established in his honour, would last for ten years and successfully promote not only the town of Kastav and its surroundings, but also the whole Kvarner region and even Croatia.
This movie, portrait of an art form that effortlessly breaks down all barriers, features numerous friends, acquaintances, and colleagues of Jerry, but also many prominent musicians from all over the world who have visited Kastav and its Blues Festival because of him, and who continue to do so. Michael Roach, Bonnie Dobson, Michael Messer, Duck Baker, Tommy Emmanuel, and Woody Mann are just a few of the witnesses of the unforgettable musical journey of the ‘’Black Kastavian’’.
Boris Hrepić Hrepa is a cinematographer, author, editor and director of the movie Goin’ Down South. He is also the co-founder of the Croatian band Daleka obala, being the only band member to have played at every one of their concerts. It is less known that he started his career as a cinematographer while still in the band, and took part in making the music videos for the songs 80-e, Slatko and Ruzinavi brod.
The 33rd International Blues Challenge was held in Memphis at the beginning of February 2017 and Croatia was the only European country which had a representative in the Youth category. This documentary speaks about the history of the music of the American South and takes the viewer on a journey through Atlanta, Macon and Memphis all the way to Clarksdale in Mississippi and its mythical Crossroads.
By carefully observing his inspirational sources, Božidar Milinović – Mr. Jazz studies the characteristics and reveals the physiognomy of renowned blues musicians. His portraits are based on a clear interplay of light and shadows, harmoniously balanced and devoid of any decorative frills. At the 10th Kastav Blues Festival, he will present his 34th solo exhibition, which is simply called The Blues.
The exhibition is dedicated to Sandra Zlendić, a tragically deceased artist from Rijeka. The opening of the exhibition will include a performance by Mario Šekelja, a young blues guitar player from Pleternica.
The Blues Workshop which traditionally takes place in the Town Loggia during the Kastav Blues Festival is a great opportunity for local musicians to exchange their experiences and make contacts with international colleagues. The workshop is open to participants of all ages and levels of expertise, who will have the chance to talk to lecturers about professional issues or just chat with them informally.
The lecturers are prominent international musicians with many years of experience in the educational field as well as being renowned artists.
Michael Roach, the ‘Godfather’ of the Kastav Blues Festival, plays music in the so-called East Coast style of blues that dates back to the 1920s. After spending several years learning directly from such eminent figures as John Jackson, John Cephas and Jerry Ricks, Roach developed a personal style which, because of his natural spontaneity and humour, leads to great interaction with the audience during his concerts. As part of promoting African-American culture over the past 30 years he has conducted numerous workshops throughout the USA and Europe and has lectured at the Exeter University (2000/2004), The University of Northampton (2005/2016), The University of Worcester (2015) and Hartpury College (2017).
Michael Roach is one of the founders of the European Blues Association and the British BBC radio station invited him to take part in the broadcast ‘Deep Blue’, a series on blues music in 2003.
Duck Baker is a living acoustic guitar legend. The many albums he has recorded include those which music critics have ranked in the pantheon of guitar music. He has written several books on fingerstyle guitar, made numerous tutorial videos, instructional and educational materials.
Duck Baker is a columnist in various guitar magazines and tireless researcher of American music. His repertoire is diverse and varies from jazz and blues to ragtime, swing and Irish and Scottish music.
Boris Hrepić Hrepa is known to domestic audiences as a member of the well-known Split band Daleka Obala, which he founded with Marijan Ban. Less known is the fact that Hrepa started his musical journey as a blues musician. Given that blues was always part of him, the band Sunnysiders, with singer and guitarist Antonija Vrgoč, represents a return to his musical roots. Sunnysiders expanded with the arrival of new members, Goran Gubić Hans and Igor Paradiš.
Their set features original tracks, famous blues covers, but also songs outside the blues genre transformed to fit in with their rhythmic and melodic sound structure, which is distinctive for its two-part singing and the playfulness of the arrangement.
Mike Sponza is one of the most renowned and internationally active Italian blues musicians. His music can be described as a combination of blues, soul and rock’n’roll. Some of his notable collaborations during his career have been with famous names like Dana Gillespie, Louisiana Red, Bob Margolin, Georgie Fame, Lucky Peterson and many others.
He’s currently working on his new album at Abbey Road Studios in London with Pete Brown as co-author (who wrote Cream’s “Sunshine of your love”, “White Room, “I feel free”). The excellent reviews of Mike’s albums and live performances are further proof of his status as a sophisticated blues guitarist and composer.
The British blues veterans gathered together in the Big Steam quartet have poured their enviable musical experience, gained from playing in renowned bands, into a musical celebration of their entire careers. Guitarists and singers Paul Stewart and Tim Staffell, drummer Geoff Coxon, and bass player Rob Tolchard have been playing together for over 50 years. They were participants in the British blues boom of the 1960s and have taken part in the evolution of the British blues scene up to the present.
Alongside blues rock classics, they also play their own material.