THE STORY BEHIND
Spring, 1988. It was my second and last year at Goshen College, Indiana. Lori, one of my housemates of the «Blue House» on 8th street, took me to a club in South Bend, offering me my very first blues emotions. That night on stage the performer was Koko Taylor – the Queen of the Blues in person. What a shock! I couldn't understand how such a big and powerful voice could come out of a woman just a few inches taller than my five foot three. I particularly remember “I Am A Woman”. How Koko Taylor roared, growled, howled. I am a woman. How she held her scream, allowing only a tiny stream out of her throat. I'm a love maker. How she played with the attributes of her femininity, something new to me as I was just becoming an adult. I'm an earth shaker. How her whole being seduced me. I also recall closing my eyes to her Wang Dang Doogle, a tiny bit tipsy half way through my Cuba libre, in the middle of the smoke swirls, my hips wobbling along with her voice and the guitar beats, trying to copy her lascive moves.
Koko Taylor signed the beginning of my love story with the blues. A couple of months later, as I attended the 5th Chicago Blues Festival, I was already hooked. During the 1990s I traveled several times to the United States. Twice to New Orleans, where I discovered the city's rich musical heritage. Once to New York where I was so fortunate as to attend a performance by Dizzy Gillespie.
More recently, I found those blue notes again when I started volunteering in hospitality for the Cognac Blues Passions festival, in Cognac, France. Not only did I see musicians perform, but I also got to meet them, talk with them. Some beautiful friendships started there.
After all these experiences, I had to travel to the sacred ground of blues music. Where it all began. And so I started traveling along the Blues Highway: Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis, all over Mississippi, Arkansas, New Orleans. Once, twice, and again, and again.
All this I want to share. That is why I am writing a road-trip book about the Blues Highway, to be published hopefully in 2017.
Screamin' the Blues shows some of the photos I brought back from all these road-trips in the United States and some moments of happiness gathered closer to me, in Europe.
Koko Taylor's incredible vocal power has stayed with me over all these years. Maybe that is why I am still amazed, today, when I see singers go deep inside themselves, explore their souls and bring out emotions with such intensity.