Brazilian blues musician Fabio Ferreira talks about James Cotton and the roots of Blues & Samba

"I think that samba has the same root of the Blues and this is the line that connect Brazil with USA, Samba (popular artists like Adoniran Barbosa / Dêmonios da Garoa, Cartola and Beth Carvalho)."

Fabio Ferreira: Rio Grande do Blues

Fabio Ferreira was born in Porto Alegre City; RS (Rio Grande do Sul State) is a Brazilian blues guitarist, songwriter and singer. He lives in South Brazil and work to the Blues and half-time work in IT. Fabio says "My experience with the blues comes from a sad childhood, many bad memories, but also a joyful and fun times. And it is this part that I see the meaning of the Blues - The meeting of true feeling plus a real attitude." At 26 years old todays, Fabio had the oportunity to met the Chicago legend of Blues James Cotton and shared the stage with many local blues bands and musicians.

He grew up in church, playing since 14 years and having much experience with Gospel Music. His musical life has always been very connected with feeling, Blues and Gospel Music have the same root and he love it.

"My country has a very rich cultural and musical diversity, each state has its, but still the Blues have a great appreciation for all." Let's talk with Fabio about the Blues, local scene, James Cotton and the connection between the Blues & Samba…

Interview by Michael Limnios

How do you describe Fabio Ferreira sound and progress? What characterize your music philosophy?

Well, I feel I was born in the wrong place forever. I'm very attached to everything that exists Blues in Chicago, my idols (most of them) are from Chicago, I affirm that my sound comes from there.

I grew up in church, playing since 14 years and having much experience with Gospel Music. My musical life has always been very connected with feeling, Blues and Gospel Music have the same root and I love it.

What are some of the most memorable gigs and jams you've had? Which memory makes you smile?

Hmm.. let me see, yeah. Few weeks ago I’ve had an opportunity to play with Decio Caetano at my ranch (I’m creating a Barbecue Blues Festival at my ranch in Porto Alegre City). This guy is one of the most important blues guitarists of Brazil. He has played with Mud Morganfield, Lurrie Bell, Bob Stroger, James Wheeler and others. I’ve other great memories too, Lorenzo Thompson (great Chicago blues-singer), him stayed at my ranch and we had funny moments.

Are there any memories from James Cotton which you’d like to share with us? What advice given you?

Oh Michael, if you had not asked this in the previous question I certainly would not speak of Gigs, but the moments with James Cotton, was amazing!  I spent two days with the band and a few hours with James Cotton, but it seems he knew his whole life. I've been with everyone backstage yet to start the concert, and I see only two words to describe James Cotton (Humility and Good Humor). Two moments were remarkable to me.

When he asked what my instrument, I said "my instrument is the guitar and my inspiration comes from you, its history," he tear filled eyes, showing great affection for me.

Finally, when the whole band got into the car and I said goodbye, he waved goodbye to me, smiled and said "Thank you for everything."

For last, he said me: “Son, follow your dream! You got the blues, just keep working for the Blues and what you need will become reality”

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

I’ve sure that Blues never will die! I know! But I really think the essence of the Blues comes disappearing, in the past we saw many phases (variations) of the Blues and I see it like normal in the evolution. But my fears are about the "essence" that move us! I feel miss of the simplicity, times when the Gig was something between Feeling and Music. I hope to see more people working hard to take the real spirit of the Blues, feeling, studying about the masters and their lives, not working to become famous and promoting yourself.

Why did you think that the Blues music continues to generate such a devoted following in Brazil?

That's simple, the brazilian has a lot of reasons to feel the Blues! Daily we live in the Jungle, like musician and citizen. Each state has different ways to work with the Blues, one more than the other. My country has a very rich cultural and musical diversity, each state has its, but still the Blues have a great appreciation for all.

"I’ve sure that Blues never will die! I know! But I really think the essence of the Blues comes disappearing, in the past we saw many phases (variations) of the Blues and I see it like normal in the evolution."

Make an account of the case of the blues in Brazil. Which is the most interesting period in local blues scene?

The scenario is favor to everyone, we have great festivals and good places to play. In my state (in Caxias do Sul City) has "Mississipi Delta Blues Festival" one of the greatest of the South America, on November.

What are the lines that connect the legacy of Blues from USA to Brazil and continue to Bossa Nova?

The movement of the Bossa Nova started with intellectual people from very good condition of life (south side of Rio de Janeiro), with great influence of the Samba and Jazz. I think that Samba has the same root of the Blues and this is the line that connect Brazil with USA, Samba (popular artists like Adoniran Barbosa / Dêmonios da Garoa, Cartola and Beth Carvalho).

If you could change one thing in local blues scene and it would become a reality, what would that be?

My state don't live good financial moment, but I would like to make some good partnership with private companies and government to accelerate growth of the pubs and Festivals.

Apart from the old cats of blues, do you believe in the existence of real blues nowadays?

For sure man! I’m young man, I really love hear old cats of blues (a little secret between us, I just hear them). But I know that have a lot of people doing great work! And I know that it’s hard…

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

Oh man! Give me one question more hard! LOL!
Right on, CHICAGO! Why? Muddy, Wolf, Magic Sam, Cotton, Carey Bell, Lurrie Bell and many others!

"My experience with the blues comes from a sad childhood, many bad memories, but also a joyful and fun times. And it is this part that I see the meaning of the Blues - The meeting of true feeling plus a real attitude."

How you would spend a day with Albert King? What would you say to Magic Sam? 

Albert King? WOW! Just looking him play, eating, smoking, walking! He’s a King, man!!
Magic Sam -- 1st “Never go away!”

2nd I would like to say: “Hey man! Let’s keeping recording all day and night everything about you.. ‘cause you’re a phenom!!”. Maybe it was first reality show edition in the world! LOL

What would you like to ask Muddy Waters & Howlin Wolf?

Muddy: Tell me more about Mojo, Mr. Morganfield! and why go away so soon?
Wolf: Why go away so soon?

I know that it not depend us but I can’t believe that these masters have gone away so soon. 

What do you learn about yourself from the blues and what does the blues mean to you?

I believe that most people see the Blues as something that should be sad and melancholic. My experience with the blues comes from a sad childhood, many bad memories, but also a joyful and fun times. And it is this part that I see the meaning of the Blues - The meeting of true feeling plus a real attitude.

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