World-class Jazz & Blues on the slopes of Volcan Baru
Do you dig it? This is the exciting line-up of the 2015 Boquete Jazz and Blues Festival, a great mix of deep blues, rolling boogie-woogie and hot Latin Jazz rhythms! Most of these top-notch artists will perform in Panama for the first time!
Click on the image below to see a short video presentation of all the artists who will perform at the festival in February 2015.
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For further information please read the artist bios and click on the images below to see individual artist videos from youtube.
We hope to see y'all at the festival!
Born in Brooklyn, New York. Raised in Switzerland. A long-time Canadian who lives in Toronto. That’s Shakura S’Aida, a truly international artist whose involvement in the Canadian music scene has been ongoing for the almost 25 years. Along the way, she has enriched the jazz, blues and classic R&B communities with her soulful voice, enthusiastic personality and commitment to her deep soul music.
Now she’s released Time, a double CD that gives her growing international audience tastes of her different musical approaches to blues, soul and rock and roll.
And Shakura takes her music wherever there’s an audience in the past two years alone she has performed in the Caribbean, Moscow, Dubai, Romania, Switzerland, Canada, the United States, Australia, Austria, Italy, Germany, France, Macedonia, Switzerland and helped organize a festival in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.
Whether she’s speaking Swiss-German, French or English, Shakura instantly connects with her audience — and at the same time richly demonstrates the multiculturalism that Canada prides itself on.
Her show at BJBF2015 will be her first-ever in Panama, and we're certain that the audience will love her!
Li'l Ed & The Blues Imperials
Blues history runs deep through Lil' Ed's blood - his uncle and musical mentor (to both Ed and his younger half-brother Pookie) was the great Chicago slide guitarist, songwriter and recording artist J.B. Hutto (author of the only non-original on Jump Start, If You Change Your Mind).
Born in Chicago on April 8, 1955, Ed grew up surrounded by music. He was playing guitar, then drums and bass, by the time he was 12. Ed and Pookie received lessons and support from Hutto. "J.B. taught me everything I know," says Ed. "I wouldn't be where I am today without him." Ed and Pookie spent their teen years making music together, and in 1975 formed the first incarnation of The Blues Imperials.
Quickly, Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials went from playing local bars to clubs, concert stages and festivals coast to coast, giving national audiences their first taste of the band's propulsive boogie blues and wild stage show. They have played The Long Beach Blues Festival, The San Francisco Blues Festival, The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, The Doheny Blues Festival, The Sacramento Heritage Festival, The Thunder Bay Blues Festival, The Mid-Atlantic Blues Festival, The Pocono Blues Festival, The Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, The Rawa Blues Festival in Poland, as well as touring Canada, Australia, Europe and Japan.
Their spontaneous and unpredictable live show became legendary among blues fans worldwide. Spurred on by the band's rowdy performances, a legion of fanatical fans, proudly calling themselves "Ed Heads," eagerly spread the word.
We're very happy being able to present Lil' Ed and the band in Panama for the first time.
When it comes to Deanna Bogart, everyone wants to claim her as their own -- her hometown, her fans, her fellow musicians and even her instruments. She's that good–and that good-natured. Born in Detroit, Deanna spent her early years in Phoenix and New York City, climbing on any available piano bench to plunk and play with preternatural panache.
Today, Deanna Bogart is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist and multifaceted musician whose fans value the diversity of her genre-free zone. As a bandleader/singer/songwriter/producer/pianist/sax player, Deanna combines the best of boogie-woogie, contemporary blues, country and jazz into a splendid blend she calls “blusion.”
Recognized for her dazzling keyboards, soulful saxophone, smoky vocals and cut-above songwriting, Deanna easily wins the hearts of fans on land and at sea on chartered cruises. She is a featured player in the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Revue, jamming with Tommy Castro, Magic Dick (founding member of the J. Geils Band), as well as prominent guitar slingers. Deanna remembers well her early years as a budding musician and is an avid educator and mentor, sharing her insight and wisdom with students of all ages.
Also playing in Panama for the first time Deanna has all that it needs to deliver a show that you won't easily forget!
Yelba & Latin Fire
Nicaraguan-born Yelba came into this world with a gift for harmonies and a joy for entertaining. She learned to play the guitar by watching her father strumming as he sang Nicaraguan folk tunes to his five children.
Her voice has been described as “the voice of an angel”, which has spilled more than a few tears while she performs her beautiful Spanish Ballads and romantic Jazz repertoire. Then, within the blink of an eye, Yelba can break out in a steamy Salsa or an outrageously fun Disco tune sending her listeners wildly dancing and whirling to the exciting sounds of her VARIETY BAND.
“Yelba heats up the stage with an energetic Latin twist! Nicaraguan-born Houstonian, Yelba Heaton, has an unusual name indeed. “It’s like ‘the heat is on’ — ‘Heat-on,’“ she said with a laugh, but it’s a name to remember. Heaton, known as Yelba to her fans, is going places.”
- By Kim Hogstrom / contributing writer, Here!
Boquete, get ready for Yelba and Latin Fire...they'll surely get everybody on their feet to dance!
Leon Blue (yes, that's his real name!) may just be the finest blues piano man you've never heard of. Not that he hasn't had more than his share of high profile gigs – lengthy spells with The Ike & Tina Turner Revue, Lowell Fulson, and Albert Collins to name just a few - it's just that he's spent most of his career as a sideman rather than out front in the spotlight. But the company he's kept speaks volumes about his talent, professionalism and versatility as a musician.
Born in Wichita Falls, Texas in 1931, Leon was first inspired to play piano in 1940 after hearing records of the pounding boogie-woogie of Meade Lux Lewis and Albert Ammons, and also early live performances by fellow Texan Charles Brown.
Although he relocated to Las Vegas in the early 1990s because of Albert Collins, he hasn't slowed down bit. He continued to tour regularly with his old friends like Roy Gaines, Sonny Rhodes or Phillip Walker, and is frequently in L.A. for gigs and recording sessions, tickling the ivories or pounding out a boogie as needed. But it wasn't until The Mannish Boys sessions in 2004 that Leon got a chance to show off his 'secret weapon' on record for the very first time - a warm and husky blues voice, that we're sure to hear more of in the future.
Nowadays, still live and kicking, Leon mostly performs as a headliner either solo or with other musicians. He'll also come to Panama for the first time.
Malamanya is a six-member Minneapolis-based band comprised of a diverse group of musicians who share a mutual respect and enthusiasm for traditional rhythms and melodies of Latin American and Caribbean music. Their onstage energy and compositions reflect the communal, complex, and celebratory spirit prevalent in these musical genres. Malamanya has performed for nearly two years around the Twin Cities and recently released their first EP in August. They're excited to come to Panama and perform in Boquete for the first time, and so are we!
“Malamanya is no garden-variety salsa band. Drawing on Cuban son and other traditional folk music, the group of Twin Cities natives -- singer Adriana Rimpel, bassist Tony Schreiner, trumpet player Jason Marks, percussionists Jesse Marks and Luis Ortega and guitarist Trevor May -- has fashioned an acoustic sound that creates a timeless connection and joyous blues that's as old as the working class itself.”
- Jim Walsh, Star Tribune
Winner of the "Best Swiss Blues Band" Award 2010, Andy Egert is one of the hardest working bluesmen of Switzerland and all of Europe and has earned a high reputation during the last 20 years. Presenting blues at its best and in the tradition of his great heroes Freddie King, Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Alvin Lee, Johnny Winter, Robert Johnson and many others. The powerful blues and the dynamic live shows have gotten great reviews, also on same stages with Johnny Winter, Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack, Steve Marriott, Bernard Allison, Eroll Dixon, Bob Stroger, Dr. Feelgood, Robert Lucas, Canned Heat, Louisiana Red, Sugar Blue and others!
Andy has performed in Boquete for three years in a row, and he's coming back again since people here just love him and his music! For his show at BJBF 2015 Andy will be backed up again by Boquete's own Blues Band, the B3. Whenever there's life music playing anywhere during the festival you can be sure to find this never-tiring bluesman in the midst of it!
John "Kiko" Carney-Diaz & Gato Maximo
John was born in Panama and began his musical career there before moving to the United States in 1973. He attended the University Of New Mexico and obtained a B.F.A. in Music Performance. Besides playing with local Rock bands he also performed with the Albuquerque Lesser Symphony Orchestra (John plays Double Bass as well).John began teaching privately in New Mexico in 1978 before moving to Houston in 1981. He lived there and taught guitar and bass for more than thirty years. In 1991 John joined the “Big Otis Show Band” and spent the next seven years playing beside many of the best musicians in Houston. With Otis, John learned a whole new style of music while opening for acts such as Little Richard. In 2000 John started “Max Cat”, a mostly instrumental smooth jazz band, while continuing to freelance with local artists such as Daniel Blanchard, Yelba and Jimmie Hunter. In February, 2012 John made the move back to Panama City, Panama and continues to perform there with his classic rock band, “Cool Heat” (“Calor Fresco”) and popular reggae band, Shorty & Slim. He also plays solo guitar and sometimes as a duo with percussionist Carlos “Papolin” Burk at various hotels and venues around the city. John has recently begun performing with is own band “Gato Maximo”, a smooth/latin jazz band featuring John’s beautiful classical guitar. He'll perform at the Boquete Jazz&Festival for the first time.
The Rigoberto Coba Big Band
Rigoberto Coba is a native of David, the capital city of the Panamanian province of Chiriqui located just 38km away from Boquete. Being a professor of music at a David university he is working with various musical formations featuring various musical styles from jazz to salsa, bossa nova and merengue. His show with a 18 piece Big Band that he had specially put together for the 2012 Boquete Jazz&Blues Festival (it was their first-ever public show!) earned so much praise and applause that we just had to invite him back again and again for more great shows. This band is now a permanent staple of our festival. We're happy to support great local musical talents by giving them exposure to national and international audiences!
LA Smith - Percussionist
La Smith started playing at age 7. At age 12 he played his first bongos in Greenwich Village NYC, at age 12 he was playing with folk singer in sundry New York Bars.
LA has played with many national headliners such as , Chubby carrier, Michael Burks, Grady Champion, Lightnin Malcolm, Calexico, Randy Oxford band, Mike Zito, Sonny Mormon and Cedric Burnside.LA has jammed with many more headlines on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues cruise, including, Coco Mantoya, Tommy Castro, Larry McCray, Kim Wilson and Taj Mahal to name a few.
Recently LA played at the 35th annual Blues Music Awards in Memphis, TN.