TheCanaryNews.com Maspalomas Costa Canaria Soul Festival 2017 Program Guide – Download PDF
The Maspalomas Soul Festival started in 2015 as an initiative from multi-award winning events producers DD&Company Productions, working with the local town hall of San Bartolomé de Tirajana.
Having produced the Canary Islands editions of WOMAD (World Music and Dance) since 1993, as well as their long standing experience of managing and co-producing major concerts, cultural, theatre and festival events, including the Porretta Soul Festival, they were in an ideal position to be able to arrange top performers from Europe’s bustling Soul music circuit and introduce this new and unique event to the southern beaches of sub-tropical Gran Canaria.
The Porretta Soul Festival takes place in July every year in the town of Porretta Terme, in the province of Bologna, Italy. It is this year celebrating its 30th anniversary.
Porretta began on December 10, 1987 as part of an initiative from passionate soul music fan Graziano Uliani, who wanted to dedicate a festival in honour of Otis Redding, after he had attended a commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the singer’s death, in Georgia, USA.
This ancient mountain enclave has played host to some of the very best known soul performers in the world, over the last 30 years, and the town now boasts a street dedicated to Otis Redding as well as the park where the Soul Festival is held now having been named after the legendary Rufus Thomas, who performed there some years ago.
The Porretta Soul Festival is now officially counted as part of the modern geography of soul music and is considered the European showcase for the Memphis Sound. The festival is associated with the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis and the Center For Southern Folklore in Memphis.
Acts that have played the festival include Rufus and Carla Thomas, Bobby Manuel & the Memphis All Stars with Marvell and Vaneese Thomas, Solomon Burke, Howard Tate, Isaac Hayes, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, Sam Moore, Irma Thomas, The Memphis Horns, LaVern Baker, Mighty Sam McClain and Peter Giftos, Millie Jackson, Otis Clay, Ann Peebles, Mavis Staples, Booker T. & the M.G.s, The Neville Brothers, Chaka Khan, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Joe Simon, Mable John, Bar-Kays, Harvey Scales, The Bo-Keys and Betty Harris, to name but a few.
Now in its third successful year, the Maspalomas Soul Festival immediately follows Porretta, taking advantage of the opportunity to offer a unique stay on the popular European sub-tropical island of Gran Canaria, attracting some truly authentic and outstanding US soul performers before they head back across the Atlantic ocean. Some guests have been performing for 5 decades or more, as well as many younger up and coming artists, who get to play with legendary figures from the world of Soul music.
This year’s Soul Festivals are dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the birth of legendary Stax records artist Rufus Thomas, who found world wide fame for entertaining style and novelty dance records, including “Walking the Dog” (1963), “Do the Funky Chicken” (1969) and “(Do the) Push and Pull” (1970).
According to the Mississippi Blues Commission, “Rufus Thomas embodied the spirit of Memphis music perhaps more than any other artist, and from the early 1940s until his death . . . occupied many important roles in the local scene.”
To celebrate this important centenary Vaneese and Carla Thomas, both his daughters and soul stars in their own right, are performing in Porretta and in Maspalomas.
Soul Royalty Indeed!
TheCanaryNews.com Maspalomas Costa Canaria Soul Festival 2017 Program
Friday, July 28
17.30-18.30 h.- Workshop (Banadú)
19.30-20.30 h.- Sergio Palmer DJ Set
20.30-21.30.- Earl Thomas
22.00-24.45 h.- Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra
Vaneese & Carla Thomas (Tribute To Rufus Thomas)
Vasti Jackson (Tribute To Johnnie Taylor)
Saturday, July 29
17.30-18.30 h.- Workshop (Banadú)
19.30-20.30 h.-Jaime Falcón DJ 20.30-21.30 h.- Banadú
22.00-24.45 h.- Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra
Wee Willie Walker
Sunday, July 30
12.30 h.- .Baton Rouge Dixieland (Pasacalles)
It is nearly impossible to overstate the importance of this ensemble to modern Soul music in Europe. The absolute backbone of both the Porretta and Maspalomas Soul Festivals, soul aficionado Anthony Paule and his fellow musicians were asked to step in as house band in Italy back in 2015, travelling with the first performers to come to Maspalomas, they are the glue that allows the flourishes and pure joy from star performers to flow through these events. A team of great individual players, who come together to create that authentic Memphis sound allowing seasoned mega-stars to continue to WOW modern crowds with the unique feel of original soul music and beloved classics played live. Too funky for words!
Originally from Liverpool, Rick Hutton is a radio host, television presenter and British musician, popular in Italy as one of the main faces from the Italian music channel Videomusic, which was one of Europe’s first Music TV channels. He moved permanently to Italy in 1978, after finishing university, having performed in several bands, in 1988 he recorded his first solo album for PolyGram records. Long time participant of the Porretta Soul Festival he has for many become the face of the event, occasionally performing classic soul and R&B hits of the sixties and seventies. He still regularly presents radio and television programs and for twenty-five years has been the primary host of Porretta Soul Festival
Unbound by gravity, Mississippi living blues legend, renowned guitarist and vocalist, multiaward winning Vasti Jackson is a powerful force in the world of music. Known for his high energy “sweat-drenched, soul-ripping live performances” his fiery innovative guitar, lightening vocals and unmissable stage presence, Vasti (pronounced Vast-Eye) captivates audiences, leaving them entranced and immersed in the full soul affirming spirit of the blues. Having worked with many of the greatest names in music he is a consummate performer, songwriter, arranger, and producer. From his early church beginnings in Mississippi, to playing festivals, concerts, and theatres around the world. Vasti is an unstoppable force effortlessly transmuting between Blues, Soul, Jazz and Funk to gospel and pop, and beyond. Certainly not to be missed, this man is a highly accomplished musicologist and one of the most entertaining acts you are ever likely to see.
Oakland’s Terrie Odabi is the real deal, and seen by many as the future of soul and blues music in America. She spent several years in the business singing jazz before going front and centre to release her first blues album back in 2014, after entering a competition. With regular sell-out shows, she is being hotly tipped as “easily the most dynamic blues and soul woman to have emerged in the Bay Area since Etta James came out of San Francisco’s Fillmore District in the Fifties.” Rave reviews have followed with award nominations seeming to confirm her “Lyrically, “ as “a seductress more of the classic blues tradition of the 1920s than of the recent, often overtly salacious soul blues idiom. Musically, she is one of the most commanding female vocalists to have come down the blues highway in recent memory.“
Barbara Blue, (The Reigning Queen of Beale Street) was born and raised in Pittsburgh Pa, Barbara has had the blues since the day she was born. She Has Been performing 5 nights a week on Memphis Tennessee’s infamous Beale Street for 20 years (June 7, 1997). Beale street has been called America’s most iconic, having been a major cultural centre in American black history; merchant and passenger ships along the Mississippi River brought travelling musicians in the 19th century and for many it is “the undisputed birthplace of the blues”. The Reigning Queen of Beale Street had to pay her dues in the clubs of Pittsburgh and later Detroit before she nailed down her long standing residency at legendary club Silky O’Sullivan’s. Throughout her career Barbara has performed across the globe.
Scott Sharrard is an incredible guitarist and musical artist most widely known as the lead and musical director for the Gregg Allman Band. A prolific songwriter and talented singer, he has also released several soul-influenced albums of his own including three with his first band, The Chesterfields, followed by three solo albums and, most recently, the eponymous release by his current group, Scott Sharrard & the Brickyard Band, in 2013.
Born and raised in Michigan, Scott often cites his father, also a guitarist and singer-songwriter, as his earliest influence. He began his musical career studying jazz at the prestigious High School for the Arts in Milwaukee, WI, during the day and earning his stripes by playing and singing with local and visiting greats by night.
Wee Willie Walker is an exceptional blues singer enjoying a late bloom as a deeply talented and historically important soul man in his own right. He personifies the Memphis sound.
Walker’s music is groove-heavy, like warm molasses, it has been described as feeling like Memphis in the summertime—and why wouldn’t it? Memphis is where he was raised, before moving to colder climes. Having cut records for Goldwax in Memphis, he then moved to the infamous FAME studios in late 60s Alabama, a studio so well respected that “anybody who was anybody” in the 60s and early 70s were trying to record there including Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones, Wilson Pickett and Ray Charles to name just a few. But unlike these big names, Willie didn’t seem to have anybody looking after the business end for him, and no knowledge of how the record industry worked, so wasn’t really aware of how his music should be distributed. “I was just happy to have had the opportunity to do some recording,” he’s said. So he never did progress his music into a full blown career, opting instead for married life and a day job, he continued to perform occasionally, doing regular turns on the small local stages in Minneapolis and Minnesota. Around 2000 some of his recordings seemed to be going down well in Europe, and just a few years ago his talents were seemingly rediscovered at Porretta when he teamed up with Anthony Paule, and they’ve been on the road ever since playing gigs on both sides of the Atlantic. “Walker’s music comes from a different time, a different place and a different point of view. He’s one of the few vocalists from the era that is still standing and that can still sing.”
Maspalomas is delighted this year to receive both of the very talented daughters of Memphis Legend Rufus Thomas, in celebration of his centenary year.
Carla is well known for having started her recording career with her father, saying “My dad probably discovered I could sing before I did” and then going on to become a highly acclaimed soul star in her own right, often referred to as the Queen of Memphis Soul. Among her many accolades she famously appeared on the first ever cover of Knock on Wood with Otis Redding, released the same month as his fatal plane crash. She has done great and inspirational work with teenagers in Memphis as part of the Artists in Schools programme.
Vaneese started a little later, making her way on her own terms, recently releasing The Long Journey Home through which she has emerged from the shadow of a distinguished career as a background vocalist with artists such as Aretha Franklin, Sting and Stevie Wonder to take shining centre stage. She is an award-winning independent artist whose journey has been winding with forays into R&B, Jazz and Gospel.
Earl Thomas flies straight in from performing at this years WOMAD Cáceres, an energetic blues & soul singer from California, he is also a songwriter, with songs covered by many famous artists including Tom Jones, Etta James, Solomon Burke and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. He has twice been nominated for a Grammy Award and has won the San Diego Music Award four times.
Born Earl Thomas Bridgeman, in Pikeville, Tennessee on August 29, 1960, he went to Humboldt State University, where he started out playing the Arcata clubs in the early 1980s. It was at an open mike night in Arcata that he sang a Jackson Browne number, “Something Fine” which started his performing career.
Belting out newly written soul music with raw grit, gravel and passion, many have confused Earl’s music with original 60s memphis, were it not for the almost imperceptible flourishes of modern synthetic brass, you could easily feel transported back to that golden soul era, Thomas however is one of the most accomplished second or third generation soul stars of modern times and one of the key shining lights making this music still as relevant as it has ever felt.
Banadú have been described as “future soul, with sounds that oscillate between similar genres, like jazz, hip hop, soul & funk.” Formed in 2015 by bassist Ruyman Franco, who gathered a group of well-known & experienced musicians, José Llobet (drums), Manolo López (keyboard), Rayco Gil (percussion) and vocalist Miriam Fleitas, to produce a laid back soulful mix that has met with critical acclaim. In June 2016 they recorded their debut album, entitled Deerjaguar, at ‘Estudio Uno’ in Madrid, with sound engineer
Pablo Pulido. It was released by ‘Little Red Corvette Records’, a recording label in Barcelona that specialises in black music
Jaime Falcón is a national DJ award winner and well known local radio DJ. Having spent more than 10 years as resident at popular local nightclub Pachá he now works with Las Palmas based radio station InolvidableFM.es
And as if that all weren’t enough, a special treat is in store for Sunday afternoon down on the beach with the outstanding Hot Jazz, New Orleans sounds of our very own Baton Rouge Dixieland Band, quite simply the most delightful things you can do with horns, snare and a clarinet!
These guys have been playing together since 2015 and are in the very highest demand, so let this delightful quintet transport you back to the deep south when the lazy river moved gentlemen who gambled and ladies who might up and down the sultry rivers of Tennessee!