21 February 2024

A true star of the world blues scene comes to Maggia!

A true star of the world blues scene, the award-winning Duke Robillard, comes to Maggia.

Summer is still a long way off, but work on the organization of the 22nd edition of Vallemaggia Magic Blues, which under the slogan "Magic vibes!" will kick off on Friday, July 12, continues in full swing. After announcing to you the Magic rock night on Thursday, July 25 with a true legend of world rock, Glenn Hughes formerly of Deep Purple, we are happy and proud to present to you another evening that we are sure will be one of the highlights of this year's edition. Further enriching the schedule will be Duke Robillard a true star of the world blues scene with his Band coming to the Valley for the first time. An evening that promises music of the highest quality. Absolutely not to be missed!

On Wednesday, August 7, 2024, the charming square in Maggia will welcome Duke Robillard, one of the most esteemed blues guitarists around and, to praise his talent, even B.B. King himself had bothered. Then, if one harbored any doubts, there would be the various Blues Music Awards nominations, W. C. Handy Award and the 2007 and 2010 Grammys to remember. And what about his Roomful of Blues? Of the Legendary Blues Band? Of the Fabulous Thunderbirds? If we started talking about his collaborations, then we'd run out of them: from past legends like Pinetop Perkins, Jimmy Witherspoon, Ruth Brown or Jay McShann to artists like Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, John Hammond and Scott Hamilton. One thing is certain: Robillard is a musician who has left his mark wherever he and his guitar have set foot and, tirelessly, has every intention of continuing to do so. Michael John "Duke" Robillard (Woonsocket, Rhose Island, Oct. 4, 1948) is a great American guitarist and singer. Although he is known as a rock and blues guitarist, his breadth is mind-boggling: from swing, standards and ballads to Chicago blues and rockabilly. Whether it is a song, a style, an idiom or an image, Duke Robillard will render it with skill and power. In his now long career he has played in bands such as Mike "Honey Bear" Robillard and worked for the Guild Guitar Company. In 1967, along with pianist Al Copley, he founded Roomful of Blues, which became the prototypical jump blues band and a New England legend. In 1979 he left the group, becoming the guitarist for singer Robert Gordon and then a member of the Legendary Blues Band. In 1981 he founded the Duke Robillard Band, which eventually adopted the name Duke Robillard and the Pleasure Kings, with whom he toured throughout the 1980s. He became a member of the Fabulous Thunderbirds in 1990 to replace Jimmie Vaughan. Although a member of this band, Robillard simultaneously pursued a solo career by touring and recording solo albums, including in other genres, such as jazz and blues. He formed a duo with jazz guitarist Herb Ellis and the swing trio New Guitar Summit with Gerry Beaudoin and Jay Geils. For a brief period in 2013, he was Bob Dylan's guitarist as well. Duke's resume is decorated with Grammy nominations, Handy Awards and Blues Music Awards, and other accolades for his artistry, recordings and productions in the United States and internationally. Says Guitar magazine of him, "Robillard's ability to play across the blues spectrum is legendary. Few musicians can move stylistically from Texas to Kansas City to Chicago's West Side, but Robillard makes it look easy." 

Opening the evening is first-class Boogie-Woogie with excursions into Blues, Gospel, Swing and Latin. Pianist Elias Bernet's group transports its audience on a varied, highly entertaining, often maddeningly frenetic journey. Bernhard Egger's drums pulsate, Markus Fritzsche's bass clicks. When Elias' virtuosic fingers dance, one might say lightly, on the piano keys, his feet, hips, shoulders and neck twitch as if involuntarily obeying an order that spurs his entire body to dance. His characteristic piano playing is not mere accompaniment; it is demanding, hissing, sensitive. To date, highlights of Elias' musical career include performances at the Lucerne Blues Festival, on the Blues Boat at the Montreux Jazz Festival, and as a guest musician in the United States. For his musical activities, he was awarded the Culture Award of Canton St. Gallen. We are all ready to dance in Maggia. (Translated with DeepL)

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