London’s blues scene nothing to get upset about

Guitarist and singer Marcus Bonfanti is to headline one of the nights at the UK Blues Festival

Blues is usually associated with older, bearded men growling tales of their heartache as they strum on a guitar.

Well, Marcus Bonfanti has the beard, but apart from this he isn’t your typical bluesman.

At just 29, he is a lot younger than most established acts, a fact that could make him vulnerable to accusations of inexperience.

After all, what can a man so young really know about the blues?

The answer is a lot.

As we settle down for coffee near his home in Chatsworth Road, Willesden, he treats me to a quick lesson in different Blues styles (he classifies himself as swamp), and the new performers who are reinterpreting a genre which grew out of the American deep south, and giving it a more modern twist.

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“The UK has a really great Blues scene at the moment”, says Marcus. “People like Bex Marshall, who has an incredibly powerful voice, and Scott McKeon who is a genius on the guitar, are really taking the genre in a new direction.”

The 29 year-old singer and guitarist is headlining a night at the UK Blues Festival later this month, where international stars Georgie Fame and B.B. King are among those taking to the stage.

But it is this new generation of musicians who he has asked to perform alongside him, to give people a taste of not just where Blues is from, but where it is headed to.

“The festival is going to be brilliant”, Marcus says emphatically. Adding: “The only upsetting thing is that I am playing on the same night as B.B King is. But hopefully everybody who can’t get a ticket for B.B King will come and se us instead.”

Blues is one of those genres that unfortunately doesn’t always get the exposure it deserves, and is often reliant on rock bands like the The Rolling Stones or Kings of Leon to bring its sounds out into the mainstream.

This is something Marcus thinks is changing.

“Blues was hard to find when I was growing up. But now, with the internet, someone can come to a gig ad hear me play a Muddy Waters cover and now they can go home and download it at home and watch his videos on YouTube.

“But it is also a music that is evolving.

“My music is rooted in the Blues, but I am trying to take it somewhere else.”

Marcus Bonfanti’s albums ‘Hard Times’ and ‘What Good am I to you?’ are available to download now.

The UK Blues Festival takes place at various venues across London from Monday June 27 until July 3. Marcus Bonfanti is playing at the Bush Hall on Tuesday June 28.

For tickets call 0844 209 7331