Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Festival Les Escales

Festival Les Escales kicks off Friday and no one who reads this blog regularly is likely going to attend because it's always the way over in Saint-Nazaire, France, on the coast of the Bay of Biscay. 

But this weekend-long festival regularly has an embedded feature where the signature musicians and styles of a certain city from around the world come under their focus. 

This year, while the headliners include the Pixies, Milky Chance, and others, it is DETROIT that's being highlighted, with performances by newer wave of inventive R&B, rock, electro & hip-hop stylists like Duane the Jet Black Eel, Tunde Olaniran, Passalacqua, Queen Kwong and Flint Eastwood, along with legends and pioneers in other realms like soul and techno, like Martha Reeves, Derrick May, and many more. 

poster art by Ellen Rutt

"The focus (on Detroit music) was already in place when I was invited," said Duane Gholston, who just left for France today. So, before he left, I wanted to just get his take on the big weekend ahead, and how this puts a lot of local talent into a global spotlight.

"(Reps/Coordinators of Festival Les Escales) approved me in January of this year when they visited Detroit and were basically recruiting acts. They liked my music videos; particularly "When The Eel Accepts Your Invitation.""

Gholston is a unique artist in that he has purposefully changed styles three times (if not more) over the last six years, even donning new monikers/personas and presentations. "The 80's and early 90's Detroit techno stuff was definitely influential on my music back when I was performing as The Brand New Dog," said Duane. But beyond that, the bigger shadows cast by iconic Detroit sounds such as Motown, or even proto-punk and garage-rock haven't ever directly influenced his own music - because it is, by design, adaptable or changeable.

"There is a song I perform in my (Jet Black Eel) set called 'Starring the Jet Black Eel,' that I wrote and it kinda has a Motown bass line and rhythm to it, though. But, that just makes me realize how much 50's and 60's black music influenced rock n roll." And that's just one way in which Festival Les Escales's focus on Detroit music can start conversations that ponder the past six decades worth of this area's musical legacy and how it's helped shape the current crop of global music.

Carl Craig
Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
Derrick May
Flint Eastwood
Tunde Olaniran
Queen Kwong
& More
Click here for more info

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