Past Board Members
Jerry da Costa
Music has been a life long passion. Earliest recollections of Â 'Rock/Pop' Music, hearing ' Shakin' All Over ' by Johnny Kidd Â & The Pirates. Growing up as a teenager in the 60s' The Beatles, Who, Kinks, were early listening, and then came the British Blues Boom, with Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, Animals, Spencer Davis, Manfred Mann , Fleetwood Mac, Chicken Shack, and my interest in the Blues and curiousity, led me to discover the original music that the English bands had covered. So I 'found ' the likes of John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and more!! Hendrix and Cream moved the Blues into a different area, and of course Led Zeppelin, and the Blues Rock of Free and others in the 70s'.
Working with bands came along and I've spent many years in the company of musicians, in clubs , pubs , festivals and elsewhere. Along the way, I've been involved with an eclectic mix of music, and consider myself to have a very wide taste and appreciation of music of varying genres.
Mark has a wide and varied track record in business and communications where he rose to Communications Director for the multibillion, multinational company, O2 Airwave. In 2009, Mark left corporate life to pursue a lifetime passion - music.
That year Mark was appointed programme co-ordinator for Brighton Live and in 2010 this role was extended further to oversee the whole festival administration. In the same year he helped to establish the 'Brighton Music Awards', attended by such luminaries as Jimmy Page and Roger Daltrey, in support of Teenage Cancer Trust. 2011 saw him working as part of the core team for Meadowlands Festival, alongside operating as weekend booker for a noted Brighton venue, where he worked with established and up and coming artists alike. That year Mark was invited to join 'BiGiAM Management and Promotions' as one of two senior Directors, running the business on a day to day basis.
Mark's wider musical portfolio includes not just festival administration and artist bookings but also as a long standing promoter running, planning and promoting live music nights and residencies in London.
As a PR professional, Mark's skills have been employed to help any number of bands, signed and otherwise. His media experience includes producing and presenting independent music radio shows across a number of stations including soul 24/7, Link FM and Red FM, writing regular columns for 'BN1', 'Guide2 Brighton' and 'What's Happening Magazine', as well as being a music reviewer for Latest 7 (print) and BBC Introducing (radio), alongside one off articles for other print media.
Mark is also a panellist and facilitator at music seminars and events, as well as being an industry lecturer on music management at the University of Brighton, for which he helped design the course modules. Mark is considered by some to be one of the pioneering figures in new music management models - as demonstrated by the success of (V2 and Universal signed) artist Jo Harman, whom he personally manages. Mark also now works with a number of elite international 'blues and roots' artists, Ireland's Grainne Duffy, and US acts Lisa Mills, Mud Morganfield, Heritage Blues Orchestra, Davina and the Vagabonds, UK's Mike Vernon, to name but a few. Mark has also recently been appointed Chair of the 2015 'Worthing Live' multi genre and multi venue Music Festival.
I discovered blues music through the Classic Rock bands of the late 60's, early 70's. As was the norm for any teenage rock fan at the time, checking out the songwriting credits led to such names as Burnett, Morganfield, Dixon and Johnson among others. Naturally curious, I looked them up via the local library and the Alexis Korner Blues and Soul show.
Fate led to the Blues becoming a major part of my life over the last decade. Whilst recovering from a major heart attack, I came across the New Crawdaddy Blues Club, became a regular and a year later, club promoter Paul Dean asked me if I'd like to become House DJ following the retirement of Ashwyn Smyth, a position I still enjoy today.
Ashwyn also publishes my reviews via the club newsletter. I have also written for Blues in Britain and Blues Matters! Two years ago, my mate Tim Aves asked me if I'd like to dep for him on Saint FM, a thoroughly enjoyable role which has expanded into more of a Co-host position.
I can't thank Tim and Paul enough for giving me the opportunity to be doing what I am doing now and I believe UK Blues is the logical step forward for this wonderful musical genre.
My first introduction to music was listening to Cream Live Volume 2 and thinking, wow!!!! two lead guitarists. My then brother-in-law had to explain to me, a wide eyed 10 year old who knew nothing about music, the basics of music. That second lead guitarist happened to be Jack Bruce, who played the Bass. From that point on, I was hooked.
From there I moved on to The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Free, John Mayall, Rory Gallagher and may more. At the tender age of 10, I was blissfully unaware that music was divided up into genres, but I became fully aware that my record collection was distinctly different to that of my peers. Whilst they were raving about the latest hit single, from A.N. Other, a one hit wonder; I'm showing off the great artwork on Led Zeppelin III. Thus began my love affair with the Blues.
As with all teenagers, it started with a garage band (in my case it was the cellar at the local vets, my mate's dad). Where every Saturday Morning, we became rock gods!!! The truth is I would have had more musicality had I dropped the Bass (please don't tell anyone), than trying to play it.
I have loved music, most of all Blues music, as long as I can remember. However, I can't remember lyrics, sing, or play an instrument, so I ended up writing about it instead, for Blues Matters, The Blues, and Blues in Britain, and Wasser-Prawda, The American magazine and any title that will have me.
Along the way I started to do PR for bands and I am proud of everyone I work with and have worked with, on both sides of the Atlantic. However, it dawned on me that the reading and live gig-going audience for the Blues is ageing and narrow. Considering the stunning impact of British Blues and the great artists in it, I decided to do what I can to change that.
That certainly helps explain my involvement with UK Blues. It also explains why I have founded a British Blues Exhibition, supported to date by Chris Barber, John Mayall, Connie Lush, Huey Morgan and Mud Morganfield. The US has a National Blues Museum and the Blues Foundation there has its Hall of Fame. We need something like that and I am creating it.
I mentioned the Blues Foundation in the US and, in Europe, there is the European Blues Union, but where is a British Blues Foundation? Nowhere until now. We need UK Blues. My profile photo is at the Exhibition's debut - a travelling version - with long-time Blues promoter Sue Revell of the 'Blues With A Bottle Club' in Kent, one of the people I hope our efforts will support.