The 31st edition of the Notodden Blues Festival ended on Sunday. It has been a long weekend with music from early in the day until 2 AM, and a lot of friendly and smiling blues fans all around town. This year Ry Cooder was the biggest name together with Bonnie Raitt, and then a lot of other great artists after these two. Here are my photos from the festival. (Photo above: Ty Taylor from Vintage Trouble)
Månefestivalen started officially Friday, with Thursday’s OBOS på Månen as a kind of vorspiel. The festival is slightly alternative from many of the other festivals because they have a predominately Norwegian booking. And in 2014 they booked only female artists and bands with female members. On the first day of this year’s edition, Hanne Boel from Denmark was the only female and non-Norwegian artist. (Photo above: Hellbillies)
Norway has been blessed with some really good musicians and bands during the years. The jazz musicians Jan Garbarek, Terje Rypdal, Arild Andersen lead on in the 70’s, and several others have come after. One of my favorite musicians and artists is Knut Reiersrud, who has kept on with his music since the 70’s, establishing himself as one of the most fascinating and interesting contemporary artists, both in Norway and also abroad.
Norway have had an active Americana culture for years, with many excellent musicians and artists performing their own music in what loosely can be called Americana. In Oslo there are Americana sessions at the Buckley club, and this Saturday the Oslo Americana Festival was held at the Grefsenkollen restaurant for the first time. The venue has one of Oslo’s best views over the whole city of Oslo, which matches the festivals wide definition of the Americana style perfectly. (Photo above: Knut Reiersrud)
Thursday, July 30th, The Notodden Blues Festival will open with artists like Robert Plant, George Thorogood, Shemekia Copeland, Beth Hart and many others. The festival has been my favorite blues festival for more than 20 years. Here are photos of some of the artists at this year’s festival while we are waiting for it to start. (Picture above: The audience to ZZ Top at Notodden in 2012)
In the mid 80’s Heavy Gentlemen were one of Norway’s leading live bands. Their members were from the elite of Norway’s rock, funk and blues musicians, and together they presented a funky and potent mix. The band played mostly in Oslo, but never released a CD as a band. The different members were however active in many other bands and together they represent more recordings than they can count. Yesterday night they reunited together with some friends at Rockefeller in Oslo to celebrate drummer Paolo Vinaccia’s 60 year birthday.
The Norwegian Blues Union and the magazine BluesNews celebrated their 15 year birthday yesterday. The party was held at Victoria Scene in Oslo with most of the best Norwegian blues artists during the last 40 years. (Picture: The editor of BluesNews, Rune Endal, and the leaders of the Norwegian Blues Union the last 15 years.)