Q&A with Renato Dias, the soul and mind of Dream Sessions talks about the Blues and Portuguese scene

"There are a lot of similarities because our Fado that has the same roots then Blues. Same state of mind, same sadness, same sound crying in the voice."

Renato Dias: Dream Sessions

Renato Dias is a hard-working music lover of Portugal, he's the soul and mind of Dream Sessions. Renato says: "My name is Renato Dias, I'm 43, married with two sons. Born in Porto, the most amazing city in Portugal. I had moto since teen ages, still ride a 1200cc Triumph Trophy every day. Played basketball. Still do whenever I can. Actually, working in a medical device company on logistics department. Always working as manager in a big retail company and as replenishment officer in Portugal, France, Spain and Angola. Music has been in my life since early age because my parents always had great records playing at home. Blues was immediately the sound that suits with me.

As a teenager I started to go to pubs and concerts houses to watch live bands and followed some friends through his gigs. My desire to produce a Blues festival growth after all festivals on the North Portugal ended. So in 2016 started to plan the Villa Sessions which had the first edition on 17th and 18th February 2017. This first event opened doors to many more and since then the Dream Sessions, the Non-Profit Cultural Association that I founded, didn´t stopped. Since heading the weekly musical programming for a 4 stars Boutique Hotel, to several events on Auditorium City Hall and outdoors, to small Blues Sessions and Villa Sessions, our main event. The production is taking a huge part of my life and Iove it!"

Interview by Michael Limnios

What do you learn about yourself from the Blues people and culture? What does the blues mean to you?

Blues means to me a complete way of living based on our past, hard work, connecting to each other lives. That is what I learned from Blues people and culture: real guys, ordinary fellows, living live always willing to give a hand to next one. Sharing love. I learned that I need to slow down, enjoy the present, remember the past, working on a future together.

What were the reasons that you started the Dream Sessions project? How do you describe your philosophy and mission?

Dream Sessions is a Non-Profit Cultural Association, founded after the first Villa Sessions - Vila do Conde Blues Festival that I produced. I felt the need to have a more affirmative position on the market and be able to do much more things. Dream Sessions mission is to produce and organize quality cultural events, especially musical, and helps to elevate the cultural level in the city of Vila do Conde. 

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and festivals which you’d like to share with us?

I am a Blues guy so what I recall are the big moments on small events or venues. As close as you can be from the action, absorbing each and every note, smile, twist. I am a fan of the intimacy and free spirit of that moments. So, don´t need to name one...

"I think Blues had a huge roll on the racial, political, and socio-cultural issues. On our days, especially outside USA, I think is just appreciated and played as great music style. Blues is understood to the bones, respected for its past and for what represents, but no more used with the impact as used to be. The society evolved and flags songs or music styles have no longer impact for moving people in important questions."

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I think Blues is alive. New blood is coming around the world, evolving and getting more stages and venues. Not yet having more air time on radios but following an its path to reach more people. My concern, with music in general, special for the Blues, is with the persons that have the power to decide, and the budget, which kind of music they choose to offer to the public... Bad musical programming on TVs, on outdoor events, etc.. Music to the masses is not cultural programming.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

Real plan of cultural programming is needed. Start teach music at early ages at school, free till high school. The money spent with music lessons, instruments, musical formation should be tax refunding. Also, a good TV programming with concerts exhibit. And put the right people and decisions positions.

Make an account of the case of the blues in Portugal. What touched (emotionally) you from local scene?

Portugal always had great musicians. We are the country that embraces more easily the Blues because our Fado, national kind of music. Historically, the Portuguese always has to work hard, lived tough lives and stuffed to reach out. Fado represents that and therefore we have a special feeling for the Blues. What we need is more venues, more festivals. Every musician plays from the heart, truly feeling the scene. That moves me..

Are there any similarities between the blues and the genres of local folk music and traditional forms?

There are a lot of similarities because our Fado that has the same roots then Blues. Same state of mind, same sadness, same sound crying in the voice.

"Blues means to me a complete way of living based on our past, hard work, connecting to each other lives. That is what I learned from Blues people and culture: real guys, ordinary fellows, living live always willing to give a hand to next one. Sharing love. I learned that I need to slow down, enjoy the present, remember the past, working on a future together."

How has the Blues, Jazz and Rock influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Music is a huge part of my life since early age because my parents had quality records at home. The radio was always on. Music helped to pass some bad moments and colored the great ones. Opened my eyes and ears to other reality’s as I listening every kind of music. Different types and sounds from all over the world brought to me new perspectives of live. I am what I am today because the sons I listening to.

What is the impact of Blues music and culture to the racial, political, and socio-cultural implications? 

I think Blues had a huge roll on the racial, political, and socio-cultural issues. On our days, especially outside USA, I think is just appreciated and played as great music style. Blues is understood to the bones, respected for its past and for what represents, but no more used with the impact as used to be. The society evolved and flags songs or music styles have no longer impact for moving people in important questions.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

Who wouldn´t what to be on Woodstock? That event changed the live of so many people so would change mine to. What that bands list? Never more possible. So, Woodstock day would be my back trip to the past.

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