An Interview with Uruguayan blues singer Virginia Martinez: Blues is a medicine for the world....

"Latin America has learned a lot of things from north American blues, but has changed some things, too"

Virginia Martinez: Saludos de Blues

Virginia Martinez, Spanish - Uruguayan singer, has performed with or opened for Shirley King, (B.B king's daughter), John Primer, Kim Wilson, Billy Flynn, and King George, among others.
She also took part of several jams in Chicago, some with the most remarkable bluesman of this city, as Billie Branch, Lurrie Bell, Ronnie Baker Brooks, etc, only to name a few.
During the nineties, she travelled along Europe, where she played and had contact with many European musicians.
since she returned from europe, had performed with Australian,  Mexican, Uruguayan, Brazilian, Chilean and Argentinian blues musicians, as well as from the united states.
she performs in a large number of blues and jazz festivals and events not only in Europe, but all over Latin America, that's why in 2008 she founded the "mercoblues", a movement that  tries to improve the relationships between Latin American blues musicians.
This movement has been decelerated of cultural relevance by her country's culture ministry.


Interview by Michael Limnios


When was your first desire to become involved in the blues?
I think when I was 18 or something like that...


Who were your first idols?
The same as now: the old delta blues musicians, as well as  Led Zeppelin, ha, ha!!!


What was the first gig you ever went to?
I think it was all around my country....many years ago....


Which artists have you worked with?
In the blues I shared stage with John Primer (twice), Shirley King (B. B´s daughter), and King George. I opened for Kim Wilson and Billy Flynn, and I jammed in Chicago with Lurrie Bell, Billy Branch, Felton Crews, and many more... this year I am going to open and share stage with Lurrie Bell and Billy Branch in their Latin American tours ...


Which was the best moment of your career and which was the worst?
I think the best hasn´t come yet, (but I am very happy now), and the worst was in the past...I don´t remember....


Is there any similarity between the blues in US and the blues in Latin America?
Well, I can tell you that Latin America has learned a lot of things from north American blues, but has changed some things, too...


Which of the people you have worked with do you consider the best?
It´s a difficult thing to say...all they are wonderful in their style...but Billy Branch and Lurrie are wonderful...


What would you say to Muddy Waters & Howlin Wolf?
Keep on doing the same, masters....


What mistake of music you want to correct?
To be more sincere....more like the 70´s...


Which of historical musical personalities would you like to meet?
Billie Holiday, Son House...and many more....


Describe the ideal rhythm section to you?
Willie Dixon on bass, Francey Clay on drums....and the rest...it is very difficult to choose...but Ollie Crawford would be nice. ha, ha!!!!!


To which person do you want to send one from your songs?
Alive or dead?  Well, I am going to choose:   to Billie Holiday...she had to be very sad sometimes...I imagine...


What does the term BLUES mean to you?
A kind of life, a deep feeling...a medicine for the world....


What does Blues offered you?
Deep and good feelings, deep sensations...



Do you think the younger generations are interested in the blues?
Yes, I think they are going to be more than now...as far as we keep on fighting, and showing them what the blues gives....
 

I wonder if you could tell me a few things about the story of Uruguayan blues scene.
well, it was in the 70´s when blues was stronger here....relational with the progressive rock era... I think this was the best moment for music here, in general...after that, it had good moments, but not like as that time I mentioned...


How would you describe your contact to people when you are on stage?
Well, people always tell me that I am very communicative, and this is what I like most, to communicate, because, if not, what are we doing on stage? I am very proud and happy with this...
 

Why do you play the blues?
…to live...
 

What experiences in your life make you a GOOD musician?
I think to be a good listener, when you have to listen....


How was your relationship with the other blues bands in Uruguay?
Good, we know each other well....


Do the media help the blues in Uruguay? Give one wish for the local Blues scene
No, absolutely not...wish?...to grow up...


Would you ever live beloved that you have in Latin America to stay forever in USA?
I would live and stay where the love for the blues takes me....


What are your plans for the future?
Keep on sharing wonderful experiences with wonderful musicians and wonderful people I know from all over the world.... 



What music would you have played at your home alone?
I play a lot of music of many styles; I love Celtic music, soul, blues, of course, and folk music in general....


What's been their experience of touring in Greece?
When I went to Greece at that moment I went with my husband as a tourist, to rest, but now I want to go to play, ha, ha!!!!


Do you have a message for the Greek fans?
Yes, you have a wonderful country, I was lucky to travel to Greece once, and loved it!!!!!!!! You have to keep on the fight!!!!!!


Virginia Martinez Blues

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