The Board

 

Ashwyn Smyth - Chair
AshwynMusic has always been a very big part of my life and in my time I have sung, played trumpet and piano. But now I play CDs!

A child of the ‘60s, I originally discovered the Blues listening to the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, Manfred Mann etc. which in turn led me to the likes of Snooks Eaglin, John Lee Hooker and Slim Harpo. Then life got in the way and my musical horizons burgeoned leading to a present day collection that ranges from early baroque music through big band, 60s, 70s, 80s trance, ambient, some rock and much more!

In 2001 I rediscovered the Blues by chance after attending a gig at the invitation of a work colleague of my wife and soon after started Digital Blues, initially being broadcast solely via the internet. 14 years later, there are three hours a week of Digital Blues shows being broadcast on 7 stations around the world as well as being available as podcasts.

Before I retired, I organised festivals, promoted gigs, co-produced two Essex blues compilation CDs, compered at blues festivals, weekends and national Battles of the Bands where I have also been a judge. I am an occasional contributor to Blues Matters! Blues in Britain and Blues & Co (France) as well as running my own website – www.digitalblues.co.uk

I am very much involved in the Blues, particularly in supporting and promoting the artists and the music in any way I can whether it be by taking part in crowd-funding campaigns, playing new, and established, artists on my radio shows, publicising gigs, festivals, events etc. writing about the music, putting artists and venues together and so on.

A member of the Blues Foundation, European Blues Union and France Blues, for some years I have been concerned that there was no national blues body in the UK so I set about creating the UK Blues Federation along with like minded individuals to whom many thanks for supporting and sharing my goals.

You can email Ashwyn at: info@ukblues.com

 

Liz Aiken - Secretary

LizAikenI have listened to the Blues and blues inspired music all my life thanks to my Dad and as he was serving in the Army we often went to American bases and heard lots of live music -  if only I was aware of who they were.

This early influence shaped the music I listened to as a teenager and young adult so it is not surprising that, following a career of two halves in Engineering then in the voluntary sector, following redundancy I ended up writing and photographing bands and artists that play the music I love.

Initially submitting reviews to Blues Matters! and Blues In Britain this led to establishing an independent music site www.Bluesdoodles.com  a place where reviews, interviews and a selection of my photographs can be found; I have been described as the person who dabbles in all things connected with the Blues right through to what is now a trade mark blue fringe.

I have long accepted that blues is a broad spectrum of musical form from acoustic through to Electric Rock/Blues and all things in between and this should unite lovers of live and recorded music not divide. I was delighted to be asked to be involved in the establishment of UK Blues Federation to make sure British bands have their musical voices heard far and wide.

You can email Liz at: secretary@ukblues.org

 

Dave Raven - Treasurer

DaveRavenMy love affair with Blues and R'n'B started in my teens when Newcastle's leading beat club, the Club A'Gogo was my regular haunt. There, local bands like The Del Vikings, The Invaders, The Gas Board (lead singer, a young Brian Ferry!) and The Animals all played their versions of the great blues numbers of the 40's, 50's and 60's.

Other groups from around the UK; John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, Manfred Mann, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, all played the Club A'Gogo and all of them playing R'n'B and the Blues.

American bluesmen also visited and there I saw Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, B B King, Bo Diddley, Eddy Boyd and many more.

Those early influences set me on a career of playing music on stage and on the radio. I’ve had many blues shows over the years and the current Raven’n'Blues has been on air across the world since 1997.

I’ve been lucky enough to be the winner of the British Blues Awards Independent Broadcaster of the year in 2013 and runner up on two other occasions. The show was the first 'listen again’ UK Blues radio programme in 1998 and the first UK Blues podcast in 2004.

www.ravenblues.co.uk

You can email Dave at: dave.raven@ukblues.org

 

Alan White – Membership Secretary and Website Manager

AlanWhiteBlues and gospel researcher, freelance photographer, exhibitor and website publisher.

Originator of www.earlyblues.com, probably the Internet's longest continuously running blues site dedicated to broadening awareness and understanding of the blues and encouraging and supporting current blues music. Comprises a vast and diverse range of blues material including: the 'UK and European Blues Festival Guide', blues festival photographs and reviews, tours and gigs, artist and band interviews, history of the blues in essays, articles, poetry, art and research projects, blues clubs, forums, lectures and courses, recommended blues books, magazines CDs, DVDs, and radio stations, blues travelogues, blues news, and blues resting places.

Also originator of www.earlygospel.com concentrating on the origins and early advocates of gospel music and www.undergroundrailroad.org.uk concentrating on the origins and work of the anti-slavery Underground Railroad movement.

European Blues Awards Lifetime Contribution Award 2014 winner.

On a personal level, I am now retired after a career in IT and live in the North of England.

You can email Alan at: alan.white@ukblues.org

 

Darren Weale

DarrenWeale.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.

www.britishbluesexhibition.co.uk

www.promusicagency.co.uk

www.blueswithbottleclub.co.uk/

You can email Darren at: darren.weale@ukblues.org

 

Jerry da Costa

jerrycropMusic has been a life long passion. Earliest recollections of  'Rock/Pop' Music, hearing ' Shakin' All Over ' by Johnny Kidd  & 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 Englishbands 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.

You can email Jerry at: jerry.dacosta@ukblues.org