Mahindra Blues Festival 2015: The experience of a lifetime

"Shiny, happy people… That’s what we like to see!"

These are the words that kicked off the fifth edition of the Mahindra Blues Festival. And it couldn’t have been more apt; since shiny, happy people were everywhere at the iconic Blues festival!

Warren Mendonsa & Friends kickstarted the fun on the first day of the Mahindra Blues Festival. And boy, did they do it well! The set, put together by the Blackstratblues frontman, brought together some of the finest musicians on one stage! Loy Mendonsa, Dominique Cerejo, Shazneen Arethna, Tejas Menon, Nikhil D’Souza, Floyd Fernandes and Joe Alvares… These were just a few of the maestros who worked their magic on the stage. In their set, they covered Sam Cooke, Nina Simone and other legends. A deserving start to the festival. But like we said, the fun was only just beginning!

We were then treated to a power-packed performance by the immensely talented Nikki Hill! Backed by an equally talented set of musicians, Hill showed us exactly why she’s one of the hottest new acts on the Blues scene. Her vocal prowess, combined with her charming stage presence, had the audience roaring for more!

Don’t just take our word for it, though. A member of the audience actually exclaimed, "Now I know what the Blues really is!". Yes, she’s just that good.

This was followed by the last act of the day – Doyle Bramhall II and Rich Robinson. As brilliant as they are by themselves, the duo were unparalleled together. Sometimes, too much of a good thing can turn out to be great! 

 

Day one was over all too soon, but the best was yet to come!

The second day of the Mahindra Blues Festival began with just as much gusto, if not more. The True School Blues Experience united the faculty from the True School of Music on one stage. Francesco Becker-Schiavo, Sean Richey and TSM founder Ashu Phatak were a few of the remarkable musicians who moved us with their performances!

 

We were certainly left spellbound by The True School Blues Experience. However, what came next blew all our minds – Thorbjorn Risager and The Black Tornado! Easily the highlight of the festival, Denmark’s biggest Blues band made us laugh, dance and sing until we could barely stand upright! The band’s incredible dynamic, their interaction with the crowd and, of course, their finest tunes made for a set that would leave even the "I-am-not-so-sure-about-the-blues" crowd spellbound!

 

After this, came one of the festival’s most anticipated acts – 15-year-old guitar prodigy, Quinn Sullivan. The young musician, touted as the future of the Blues, showed us exactly why he has earned the title. Every single word and note in his set was impeccable.

Next up was the Legend himself – Buddy Guy. Words fall short to describe what we saw and heard. All we can say about this performance – ‘Twas Blues, sending shivers all the way down to your shoes. Sullivan joined Buddy Guy on stage after the legend’s performance. Their wonderful repartee, combined with each of their unique styles, was nothing short of surreal. But that’s not all! After the duo’s enthralling performance, we were treated to the all-star jam. The last 20 minutes of the Mahindra Blues Festival brought together all the international acts for a finale of epic proportions. Buddy Guy, Quinn Sullivan, Rich Robinson, Doyle Bramhall II, Thorbjorn Risager and Nikki Hill, all on one stage. We still don’t know how we lived to tell the tale.
 

But the fun wasn’t confined to the stages at the Mahindra Blues Fest 2015! The two-day extravaganza also provided a platform for some up-and-coming local acts. Audiences could enjoy performances by winners of the Blues Hunt and students of the True School of Music in the garden area. Oh, yes. Beautiful music under a beautiful blue sky. The expression "Life’s Good" was defined by these moments!

All things considered, the fifth year of the Mahindra Blues Festival was a delight from start to finish. From the first note of the very first set to the grand finale, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything less than perfect at the festival! We don’t know about you, but we can hardly wait for the sixth edition of the festival. Let the countdown to the Mahindra Blues Festival 2016 begin!

Photos and videos by Navin Noronha and Ekta Shetty

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