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SPOTLIGHT #3

Updated: Jul 9, 2019

The Blues is music created originally among the African-American communities of the Deep South at the end of the 19th century. It grew out of spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants. During the early years of the 20th century many African-Americans took to the road and became professional Blues musicians playing in bars and speakeasies. It is from these musicians that the Blues most people are familiar with comes. Big Bill Broonzy, Robert Johnson and Tampa Red are some of the legendary names whose music is still played today. The Festival is fortunate to have a richness of Blues musicians who will get together onstage and share their music in The Blues Workshop.


Robert Bertrand from Merritt plays slide and ragtime guitar as well as the harmonica. He sings mostly blues from the Mississippi delta and New Orleans. His musical style follows that of Robert Johnson, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Leroy Carr and many more. He learned harmonica from the playing of Sonny Terry. This will be Robert Bertrand’s first appearance at the Festival.


The Jook Joint Jokers are a blues band from Vancouver. They bring you the country blues – those feel-so-bad-it feels-good kind of songs that make you want to cry or smile. Their repertoire ranges from Mississippi John Hurt to Bessie Smith to Taj Mahal as well as some original blues.


Mike and Nakos Marker from Bellingham are mainstays of the festival and Festival organizers are delighted to have them back. Mike has performed at folk clubs in Britain and at folk festivals throughout Cascadia. He was a crew member on the sloop Clearwater in New York and an artist in residence in Oregon schools. He has been a teacher at Puget Sound Guitar Workshop. He plays banjo as well as six- and twelve-string guitars, singing songs from mostly rural North America. Nakos has played dobro for over ten years and has performed at festivals and clubs throughout the Pacific Northwest and North Carolina.


Barry Truter from Vancouver taught himself to play guitar and sing the blues while working on merchant ships as a young man. His heartfelt “lonesome” singing of the blues hearkens back to the many lonely hours he spent at sea playing music. Henk Piket from Princeton learned guitar as a teenager during the folk boom of the early 1960s. His love of the blues inspired him to add slide guitar to his musical repertoire.


All of these fine musicians will be participating in “The Blues” session at the Princeton Traditional Music Festival. The Festival begins at 6 pm on Friday August 16th and runs until Sunday August 18th at 6 pm.



Photo: Big Bill Broonzy is one of the old blues musicians whose songs you will hear at the Princeton Traditional Music Festival.

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