After this great opportunity the European Blues Union met again the young musicians that had the chance to be in Norway for the Little Steven Blues School. Some simple questions were made to see and understand their point of view. Here is what we aksed and their answers!
- What was one highlight about Little Steven’s camp for you?
ODIN: The best part of Little Steven’s Blues School for me was jamming with my musicmates. There wasn’t a moment of comparing or emphasizing somebody’s music knowledge or skills. We were all one: We had the same goal and equally enjoyed the experience. We lived the blues the whole week. It also meant a lot to have the opportunity to absorb other people’s stories and advice.
JADRAN: Selecting a single highlight is a challenge, as the entire experience proved to be profoundly transformative. From spontaneous jam sessions at the school to recording sessions at Juke Joint Studio and performing with a talented group of musicians at the festival, the entire journey was one continuous highlight.
JOSE: One of the many highlights was the hospitality, which was outstanding, from every part!
- What activities did you get to do, and what was your favorite?
JADRAN: Among the many activities during our time at the school, what stood out the most was working with my band to record a song I had written. Collaborating with the band members and exploring their unique ideas was a particularly enjoyable aspect.
ODIN: We had the opportunity to attend masterclasses by fantastic and well-known artists, lectures on blues, and rehearse songs with the assigned band. I found everything to be valuable. I was so impressed by the artist’s stories told by themselves, and practicing with an improvised band was a new and important experience for me. I was the only foreigner in the band; everyone else was Norwegian. They sincerely accepted me. Maybe because of my name, haha. All in all, communicating with the band members that I just met was an interesting experience. During the blues lecture, we all listened with awe, and I believe we all learned something new.
JOSE: I got to record on the Juke Joint Studio and perform 2 shows on the Bok & Blueshuset and on Bellman Pub, respectively, and my favorite was the recording session on the studio, as i have never experienced anything like that before.
- What’s something new you learned about music and blues?
ODIN: I learned about the names of some brilliant musicians that I continued to listen to, and I learned a lot about the history of blues at the Little Steven’s Blues School lecture. During the masterclasses, I learned various tricks and heard incredible inspirational stories about the blues.
JADRAN: Interacting with individuals from diverse backgrounds and musical styles broadened my musical horizons. I discovered and started listening to artists like Big Joe Williams, Victoria Spivey, and Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy, as well as bands like the Grateful Dead, the Meters, and the Bar-Kays.
JOSE: The passion. This experience was like an injection of blues into my soul that i never got before and it made me listen and play music in a different way, so i’d say that i learned new techniques and the passion of the blues!
- What did you learn about yourself being all week with music mates?
JADRAN: Above all, I found that my true joy lies in creating, playing, and appreciating different forms of music with those who share a mutual appreciation, even if our preferences differ.
ODIN: It confirmed that blues is my path. I’m grateful that blues chose me and I get a chance to meet people with the same goal. At the camp, there were musicians a few years older than me, so they could share their experiences and tell me what to expect in the near future.
JOSE: I learned that there’s a lot more people like me in this world, crazy for music, and that i can expand my music taste and knowledge on a whole another level!
- What were the names of musicians that you appreciated the most?
ODIN: It was a great honor for me to meet Canned Heat, whom I enjoy listening to. It was a blast to talk to them and attend their masterclass. I was also happy to meet Bobby Rush and get an autograph from one of the legendary bluesmen, especially since he’s still at his best. It meant a lot to talk to Michael Ferris and hear about his life journey and his advice. But, above all, I must say that I unexpectedly fell in love with Vanessa Collier’s performance. I listened to her album during the entire drive back home – 2182 km. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to listen to and meet the other musicians, but the ones I mentioned were enough to sweeten my experience at the Notodden Blues Festival.
JADRAN: Among the musicians I had the privilege of meeting at the school, Branko Bergstrand remains a valuable collaborator with whom I shared an impromptu recording session at Juke Joint. I also enjoyed the company of other talented individuals like Levon Hem Mastervik, Grace Kuch, Wyly Bigger, Theis Jakob, Alexander Ostbye, Jonas Meyer Jamt, and others.
JOSE: Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker, since I’ve learned to appreciate their music on a different level.
- What was something that was not what you expected?
JADRAN: It was an unexpected but pleasant surprise to find three other keyboard players at the school, including Wyly and Jonas. This allowed for a fruitful exchange of ideas and the opportunity to learn from each other.
ODIN: I didn’t expect to have the opportunity to perform four times at the Notodden Blues Festival, meet the mayor of Notodden, and the Prime Minister of Norway, and hang out with blues stars.
JOSE: All the people that are coming to the city and the way it lights up for one cause: The blues.
- What was your favorite situation during Notodden Blues week?
ODIN: My favorite moment was when Elisabeth Moen Pettersom, the host of the Juke Joint Studio, made time in her busy schedule to record my original song with my musicmates: Adama Janlo, Branko Bergstrand and Wyly Bigger.
JADRAN: One of the most memorable moments during my time at the school was a masterclass with Canned Heat. Their insights and musical wisdom left a lasting impression on me.
JOSE: The freedom that we had to do what we wanted at most times, i felt that if i needed to take a small break during rehearsal or something i could just go near the river and sit there for a bit, and that’s really awesome, since the productivity comes out way better!