We begin this month with our annual broadcast of part two of the International Blues Challenge. The IBC is one of the Blues Foundation’s signature events. Blues societies send musicians from all over the world to showcase their talents in the clubs on Beale Street. The winners are crowned at a day long showcase and festivities at Memphis’s historic Orpheum Theatre. This week we bring you the winners in the band competition: runners-up, Dan Treanor’s Afrossippi Band w/ Erica Brown, Michael Van Merwyck and BlueSoul, and champion, The Selwyn Birchwood Band.
Barabara Ching tells us more about the roots of American music in her series, Country Music and The Blues
The Blues Foundation’s annual IBC has evolved into the nation’s biggest and most respected showcase for blues musicians ready to take their act to the national stage. The IBC is a judged “Battle of the Bands” in which competitors take the stage and play a short set for a panel of judges. The acts are judged based on an established set of criteria.
The IBC represents an international search by The Blues Foundation and its Affiliated Organizations (mostly blues societies) for the Blues Band and Solo/Duo Blues Act ready to perform on a national stage, but just need that extra break. Each Affiliate of The Blues Foundation has the right to send a band and solo/duo act to represent the organization at the IBC Semi-Finals on Beale Street in Memphis, TN.
The list of current blues artists that have competed in the IBC over the years is impressive indeed: Slick Ballinger, Barbara Blue, Fiona Boyes, Eden Brent, Keith Brown, Michael Burks, Sean Carney, Albert Castiglia, Tommy Castro, the late Sean Costello, Albert Cummings, Delta Moon, Larry Garner, Joey Gilmore, Diunna Greenleaf, Zac Harmon, Homemade Jamz Blues Band, Richard Johnston, Joe Moss, Jason Ricci, Robin Rogers, Matthew Skoller, Super Chikan, Patrick Sweany, Susan Tedeschi, Teeny Tucker, Watermelon Slim, the late John Weston and Michelle Wilson.