Croatian Blues Forces


Blues Forces in Croatia

Javi prijateljima

Hrvatske blues snage
About Us

The idea of establishing the Croatian blues forces (CBF) dates back to June 2008. Thanks to the faith, dedication and enthusiasm of a few people and the generous help of our sponsors, the idea became a sweet reality. For the first public appearance CBF chose the 1st European blues conference in Parma, June 2008 where they were invited as a pipeline association. Registration with the association of musicians and performers triggered registration with the Blues Foundation, world blues organisation based in Memphis.

The first public appearance of CBF at home took place in October of the same year, at a concert titled "Battle for the City" at Zagreb's “Flower Square”. Soon, their web site sprang to life and the media took notice of them. In late October a regular blues program began at Sax!, a club in Zagreb, called BlueSax! where CBF performed. The end of the season, June 2009, lead to another success – the CD edition of the BlueSax! album - Season 2008/09. (Croatia Records / bond / Bluestone), giving an overview of 40 artists from all regions of Croatia, the first thought-out and designed overview of Croatian blues music in general. For many performers this was the first officially released recording. Another BlueSax! Season (2009/2010) was also recorded and is expected to be released on a CD (the third is planned 2010 / 2011); others interested in cooperation applied and several other clubs started running blues nights. Bikers& Beer Factory in Zagreb being the most prominent one. Along with the presentation of local artists on regular BlueSax! Evenings, the International BlueSax! was started for the presentation of foreign artists (Lance Lopez, Kellie Rucker, ripoff Raskolnikov, Joe Filisko, Eric Noden ...)

Being invited to the 25th IBC, CBF confirmed its position in the organization of blues music in Croatia and for the first time CBF had its participants in the semi-finals of IBC. CBF were also present at the second European Blues Conference, which was held in the Norwegian city of Nottoden July 29 to August 3. The second BlueSax! season introduced the blues canvas by Vedran Zanko, specially made for the stage and performing blues bands. The canvas is attractive and unique in this region (6 x 3 m) and the illustration was accepted as the visual identity of 1st Croatian Blues Challenge, and as such it was printed on posters, billboards, T-shirts and accreditation of the first Challenge. The Challenge is the largest project organised by the CBF. It’s in fact a qualification for the IBC i.e. the Challenge became a selective filter for Croatian representatives in these categories: groups, solo / duo presenting Croatia and CBF are in this global competition. As a special guest on the first Challenge we hosted Mr. Jay Sieleman, executive director of The Blues Foundation, who opened the competition. G. Sieleman and his wife Priscilla Hernandez spent three days in Zagreb and in that time did a great job promoting blues and its musicians. The interest they aroused in radio and television journalists was large enough for the state to learn about the first competition of blues musicians in Croatia. Besides the promotion of both associations, Jay and his wife Priscilla were the main speakers at the mini blues conference organized by CBF. The purpose of this meeting was to familiarize attendees with the organization of The Blues Foundation and the possibilities offered by modern technology as well as the emergence of new European Union Blues. "In the end let me compliment CBF for their great leadership and for the phenomenal organization of the first Challenge and enormous progress which has been achieved within just one year since its founding. I haven’t seen such enthusiasm and professionalism in a long time. I would like to thank the leadership of CBF, you have been wonderful hosts and the best proof of the old blues premise that the blues is a culture without borders. Wherever I was and whomever I met in these three days in Croatia were all extremely friendly and pleasant so that my wife Priscilla and I are already making plans to come back,” Jay concluded. The Challenge set a new record at the Sax! Club in which on Wednesday, November 11th, the competition in the group category was attended by more than 380 blues fans. The first Challenge ended with the winning performance on November 17th at Sax! and plaquettes were awarded to the winners and runners-up. On November 18th the national television studio, the Bajsić Studio, a two-hour live concert was played by the winners. The concert was recently (July - August 2010) aired on national television. The highlight of it all was the performance of the blues legend Johnny Winter performing with our winners at the Boogalloo club on November 19th. Needless to say, the concert was sold out.

In April 2010, CBF organized a celebration to mark the end of the blues ski season for the best Croatian skier, Ivica Kostelic, the Olympic silver medallist, and he was given a plaquette for "promoting blues among skiers," he was also declared an honorary member of the CBF.
In May 2010, CBF organized Zagreb’s 1st International Blues Festival. Considering the phenomenal atmosphere and great reactions, it is facing a long and brilliant career. With 12 local artists and several guests, stars of this three-day festival were Greg Koch and Candye Kane. There aere several other blues festivals organised either with the support of CBF or are self-organized: Varaždin, Sisak, Pirovac, Tisno, Split, Osijek, Murter, Virovitica, Novigrad, Umag, Gospic, and Vrsar Vukovar.
A special success for CBF is the introduction of the Blues Album category for the Porin Award, which was awarded in May 2010. in Biograd. Porin is the most prestigious record award in the Republic of Croatia. Established in 1993, it has been annually awarded since 1994 in over 40 categories. In addition to several articles published on web portals, print media and blues played on radio stations, we can point out these two: the contribution of the journalists Davor Hrvoj aired on Croatian Radio 3, which broadcasts only reports on classical music. His report included the work of CBF so far and review of the 1st Zagreb International Blues Festival. And a large number of guest blues artists on the TV program, "Good morning Croatia", realised by the journalist Gordan Sirotić who was also the author of the story of Blues in Croatia, shown on the "Alpe Adria Danube" program.

There is no doubt that from its inception until the recently held 3rd European blues conference in the Spanish town of Hondarribia (08-10.07.2010) CBF has come a long and successful way. Along with being a member of the global Blues Foundation (BF), CBF with other blues associations from 15 European countries formed the European Blues Union (EBU), which is in the process of registration in Brussels. In addition to the existing six members of the EBU Committee presided by Thomas Ruf (Ruf Records, Germany) at the 3rd blues conference an additional 5 members were nominated for the EBU committee, including the Croatian representative Drazen Buhin. The EBU’s main task is to promote blues, international exchange of blues musicians and information, education and various other activities. Among the first tasks will be the organization of the first European Blues Challenge which will be held parallel to the fourth European blues conference held in Berlin, March 2011.

Prior to May 2010, CBF Association acted as a section of the Croatian Music Union. After becoming independent, it was registered as a separate association within the Blues Foundation and it was promoted to Affiliate – Subsidiary status. The CBF association is chaired by Tomislav Goluban – President, Zoran Haraminčić Hara - Vice President, Drazen Buhin - Secretary and Sinisa Bizović - Executive Secretary. Blues in Croatia is very much alive, and obviously, getting more and more popular by the day!

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