Lynne Brenner Ganek, Steve Zink
Bobby Rush, Shemekia Copeland, Janiva Magness
Blues on Beale is a dynamic documentary that captures a unique musical event: The 36th International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee held this past January, just before the world shut down because of the Covid pandemic. (In fact, this IBC probably will be the last event like this until sometime in the future when the pandemic is vanquished.)
232 aspiring Blues musicians fresh from their victories in local Blues Society competitions around the world come to Memphis to be judged the 'best in the world' in band and solo/duo competitions. We (LDM) profiled 10 of the 232 competitors and spotlighted their journey through the competition. The Blues Foundation organizes this event every year to bring the best and most talented artists from around the globe to spend a week sharing their stories, their life experiences and their music with concert competition in the 20+ clubs along historic Beale Street for a full week of passionate, crowd pumping Blues music. The competitors, who come from 17 different countries and the United States are winnowed down to 16 finalists who appear in an all-day concert at the historic Orpheum Theatre in Memphis. Winners are selected at the culmination of the competition at the Orpheum.
Blues on Beale has guest appearances by Blues Greats Bobby Rush, Shemekia Copeland, Castro Coleman, Janiva Magness, Shakura S'Aida and many others. Blues on Beale is filled with great music, amazing personalities, revealing personal stories and an insight into the history and development of the Blues as a seminal genre of music in America's history.