Image by Benoît Derrier

By Reshma Krishnan Barshikar

It’s our favorite time of the year; when the bands come out to play, there’s a bite in the air and Bombay sheds its humid cloak to reveal perfect firefly evenings courtesy the festival season and the pick of the calendar is quite easily the Mahindra Blues Festival between the 13th -14th February 2016. The line up always showcases the best in global Blues as well as excellent emerging Indian talent across three stages at Mehboob Studio. It’s impeccably organized, free of all the usual hype and festival madness with a crowd that clearly knows its music. None of that flowery headband wearing ‘we’re here to be seen’ malarkey – not that we have anything against daisies, but it’s nice to have a festival that elevates the music above everything else. We happened to catch the massively talented Nikki Hill in February 2015, who had the audience eating out of her hands- I remember dancing in a makeshift dance floor right bang in the middle of the audience. The other highlight was of course Buddy Guy with Quinn Sullivan. But don’t discount the smaller bands or the True School of Music band, which put up quite the show. Mix in some beer on tap, a wonderful Vinyl collection to browse through, space to dance and you have Mumbai’s own special way to celebrate Valentines weekend.

This years line up kicks it up several notches, nay, several football fields we say. Headliners include the sublime Joss Stone, singer of The Soul Sessions, which made the 2004 Mercury shortlist, Rock and Soul Diva Malina Moye, and Keb Mo. Joss Stone has two Brit awards under her belt and has sold 14 million albums worldwide making her one of the biggest British artists of her time. You’ll probably recognize her pop hit ‘You had me’ and ‘Right to be wrong’ but I love her medley of ‘It’s a Man’s world’ with James Brown.

While Joss Stone croons the blues on one stage, Malina Moye will rock it out on upside down Fender Stratocaster. Known for seamlessly straddling the worlds of Rock and Soul, her riffing is spectacular; Mellissa Etheridge meets Miley Cyrus.

And last, but not least we have Keb Mo, three-time Grammy Winner, who brings a little Nashville to the proceedings. is proud to be associated with the festival, so watch this space for detailed schedules, tickets to the events, some Jazz and Blues 101, and all that jazz and blues.

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