“Age is only a number. I am 81 years old and still ready to rock the house!”
The Great Grand Ma Jan's act is a combination of these legends.The Stage Presence of Ma Rainey, The energy of Tina Turner, The naughty girl image of Millie Jackson and the Humor of Moms Mabley
Born in 1942 in Cleveland, Ohio, with a stopover in Norway, she now lives in Germany with her husband, trombonist and piano builder Werner Gürtler. Known as a versatile artist, she masters blues, jazz and gospel singing, as well as acting and music production, and looks back on a decades-long career that has carried her around the world. Ms. Harrington is still active as a Jazz Ambassador and State Department Cultural Ambassador during Black History Month, holding Workshops and Masterclasses. From 2000 until the present , she has focused on working with young people and people with disabilities. So she has earned the title “Germany’s Lady of the Gospel” honestly.
MAX AND VERONICA
Roots, blues, ragtime, gospel with an Italian flavor and often quite humorous, these words capture the lively duo of Max De Bernardi & Veronica Sbergia,They passionately play country blues, ragtime, and rural music from the 20’s and 30’s using instruments like ukuleles, washboard, kazoo, double bass and guitars. They love entertaining the audience and keeping this precious musical heritage alive, faithfully reproducing its original sound whilst playing it with a modern twist.
With The Red Wine Serenaders they won the European Blues Challenge, held in Toulouse (FR) in 2013 and were selected in January 2015 representing Italy for the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.
Stef Rosen is a guitar player and singer from Berlin, Germany. He is considered one of the most innovative and genuine blues players that have emerged in Europe in the recent decades. His way of composing, playing and arranging is inspired by the soulful electric blues from the 70s, as well as the old acoustic blues from the late 20s.
He looks at the tradition of this music with a personal and respectful attitude. He has performed in blues clubs, festivals and blues dance events all around the World, from New York to Moscow, as a solo artist and with bands.
In 2017 he joined a European tour with Tony Coleman, who has been drummer for many blues legends as Albert King, Albert Collins, Etta James, Ruth Brown, and for the king of the Blues himself: B.B. King, for more than 20 years.
His latest recordings received enthusiastic reviews from all around Europe and by the international blues dancing scene.In 2020 he won the “Album of the Year” award for his mixing and mastering work on Ginger Blues record “Unknowable journey”.His new album “Soulify” has been released in February 2022 for Timezone Records.
Bibi holds a strong sense of respect for the values of African American culture, and for the importance of researching and respecting the cultural roots and history of blues. What she loves about blues are the breadth of blues music as well as the creativity, the freedom of expression and the deep connection and communication with the music and the partner in the dance. Bibi is also a known Dj, and for her, music is a great, continuous source of emotions, the true engine of everything she does! She has been spinning the decks since 2014, inspiring tons of dancers all around the globe and keeping the party jumping everywhere she went. Bibi will also be offering some private lesson slots, more on that later!
For Arja, the most enchanting music has always been the kind where you really feel the emotions or 'the heart and soul' of the musicians, regardless of the style. She really discovered blues music only through dancing, and first became a DJ simply because it belonged to the package of being a local scene builder... However, later on she has found a lot of joy in trying to create a certain feeling on the dance floor - watching how the mood shifts and picking up subtle cues from the dancers' energy. Highlighting mostly black musicians and mixing different blues genres (when the situation allows) are also important values for her.
ARI "DJ ARIGOO" KOSKELA
Ari "DJ AriGoo" Koskela got the blues bug in the early 1980's, after buying John Lee Hooker's LP 'Real Folk Blues'. For some years, blues was the only kind of music for him, and money earned was well spend on Blues records. But as a music lover, and person who is always exploring new music, blues had to make room for other music styles and genres. But even then, love for blues and 'root music' never died. In 2003 he found Boogie Woogie and other Swing dances, and have since been DJ locally at parties and competitions alike.
At the moment when he discovered Blues dancing in 2015, his younghood's passion for blues was revived, and not long after that, he found himself DJ'ing for Blues dancers. Ari's goal as a Blues dance DJ is try to keep music 'bluesy', mixing his sets with some funky and jazzy tunes. He's constantly seeking new, not-so-familar versions of blues-dance standards, and is keeping always his ears open hunting for next 'solid' mover for the dance floor.
Ari is pictured here leading his friend Maarit :)
"She's good, that ought get em"
Coming all the way from the US for the Grind we have DJ Susan Olson! She loves many different kinds of blues music, but there are special places in her heart for ballroom blues, badass female singers, and funky rhythms. She has been the head DJ at the Blues Experiment and has also deejayed at North Star Blues, Lindy Focus, bluesSHOUT!, Blues Muse, BluesGeek and numerous other events in addition to frequent local dances in her home scene of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Susan enjoys nothing more than keeping people up past their bedtimes dancing to amazing music and can't wait to be back home behind the DJ table