Volume 96, Issue 4

Thursday, June 13, 2002
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Young women turn men on with fun Canuck patriotism

Oh-so fabulous summer festivals

Blue? Prove it. Go to Bluesfest

Blue? Prove it. Go to Bluesfest

By Ila Seegobin
Gazette Writer

It was a weekend of sweltering heat countered by copious beer consumption.

Last July, Londoners were privileged to welcome talented blues artists from across North America for the second annual London International Blues Festival.

Bluesfest, which originated in Windsor seven years ago, attracted blues fans of all ages to the Covent Garden Market at the corner of Dundas and Richmond Streets.

This summer, the blues are back in town, but to fully appreciate the blues sound, you should brush up on your American history.

Blues music gained its fame following the American Civil War and was used as a vehicle by which slaves reacted to their indigent situations. What is now called the "field holler" is the response to the terrible suffering and abuse felt by many northwestern Africans during their years of imprisonment at plantations across the United States. Blues music can neither be classified as European nor African in structure and is said to be a combination of both cultures, with human suffering acting as a catalyst.

The term "blues" was coined by the 19th century writer Washington Irving to describe the suffering so often depicted in the music.

Following the Civil War, former slaves migrated northward and spread the popularity of blues music. This popularity continued into the late forties and was magnified in later years by the introduction of the electric guitar.

Now you're prepared for Bluesfest.

Last year, music fans enjoyed the sounds of blues legends ranging from the romantic Jeff Healey to the ever-turbaned "Disciple of Blues," Sonny Rhodes. Rhodes drew the attention of novice fans with his tomato red suit and snow white shoes.

Bluesfest returns this year for a four-day period from Jul. 11 to 14 with another appearance by Healey along with fellow Canadian, Colin James and the fun, radio-friendly tunes of Blues Traveler.

An event worth attending, Bluesfest brings London a touch of African-American tradition coupled with the innovation and creativity of western music.

Tickets can be purchased at both the Little Red Roaster in the Covent Garden Market or on Wortley Road.

Full weekend passes are available for $60 and one-day tickets range from $10-$40, depending on the artists showcased.

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