Christelle Berthon began playing music at age 4 in her home town of Chateauroux in the centre of France. Playing her recorder along with everything on the radio, including pop songs, set the stage for her eclectic repertoire, which now includes everything from Bach concertos to down-home blues. After playing her first gig with renowned French folk band Malicorne, at age 14 Christelle began six years of classical oboe studies, passing the exams for the national schools of Paris and Lyon. At the age of 24, completely by chance, she bought her first harmonica and found that it provided a welcome diversion from four hard years of oboe studies. Almost straight away she fell in love with this instrument.
However, life obliged Christelle to give up playing music for twelve years, until one decisive day in Ireland, in November 2006, knowing that Christelle had once been a musician, a lady offered her a diatonic harmonica. Returning to France, Christelle committed to being the musician that she was meant to be, practicing up to eight hours a day. To share her work with people, she opened her now-renowned YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/christellester) and has gathered more than 55 270 subscribers and 24 million views so far. She has been featured at the SPAH Convention and she has won the second place at the World Harmonica Championship 2009.
From the start, she was successful in covering a broad range of genres, Blues, Celtic and Jazz. She has worked a lot at the new technique called overbending which allows one to play the full chromatic scale on a diatonic harmonica. Christelle currently tours in Europe and has acquired many American fans who are eagerly waiting for her US tour. The brand-new album “Breathe to Me” was released in June 2017.
Christelle Berthon is an official endorser of the Dannecker Harmonicas, ZT Amplifiers and Audix Microphones.
Jerry Portnoy: “Christelle Berthon’s playing is superb in every aspect: wonderful musicianship, technical mastery, but most importantly, a beautiful sound that conveys feeling and emotion.”
The best known Polish harmonica trio was created in 1970 and has performed to Austrian, Czech, Slovakian, French, Dutch, Mongolian, German, Swiss, Swedish, Hungarian and American audiences over their 46 years of activity and has also recorded more than 9 hours of music for radio, television and six CDs. For all this time the frontman of the trio has been the legendary harmonica soloist Zygmunt Zgraja (chromatic and diatonic harmonicas), who has also been the chairman of the jury for the group competition at World Harmonica Festival. In addition to him the trio includes Robert Kier (chord harmonica) and Janusz Zajac (bass-harmonica). The trio’s repertoire consists of arrangements based on classical music, as well as music based on Polish and other national music.
1977 Rotterdam (The Netherlands) 2nd prize at the international harmonica festival
1986 Innsbruck (Austria) 1st prize at the international harmonica competition
1988 Helmond (The Netherlands) 2nd prize at the international festival
1989 Innsbruck (Austria) 1st prize at the international harmonica competition
1991 Detroit (USA) 1st prize at the international competition
Ismo Haavisto is a well-known professional blues musician from Lahti, Finland. He is known as a great singer, harpist and guitar player. He started playing blues as a teenager, this year Ismo celebrates his 30 years on stage with jubilee concerts “The First 30 Years of Blues”.
Ismo Haavisto’s One Man Band is a good working ensemble – it works well in a living room and also at festivals. Haavisto plays the guitar, slide, harmonica and sings of course. Stomp box and foot tambourine gives a solid beat. This is something unique that you must see! Ismo started co-operation with Lahti Big Band in 2011. The first concert with this 20-person-band was in May 2012 at Lahti Jazztori-festival. All the songs are written by Ismo and arrangements are made by Erno Tiittanen, who is also the conductor of the band.
In 2012 Ismo Haavisto represented Finland at the European Blues Challenge in Berlin, Germany, in 2013 he represented Finland at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, USA.
In 2017 Ismo Haavisto’s song is in Aki Kaurismäki’s movie “The Other Side of Hope”
During his career, he has recorded seven albums and the eighth and the latest “Fire Breath “was released with Lahti Big Band in September 2016.
The well-known Russian clarinet and saxophone player Sergei Kuznetsov is the leader of the music group Overdrive Blues Band in Jaroslavl. 10 years ago he started to learn chromatic harmonica and already in 2013 he achieved remarkable results at the World Championship in Trossingen, Germany: the seventh place in the Open and the eighth place in Jazz Chromatic Category. In 2014 he won the first place at the Liege competition in France and Grand Prix at the Baltic-Nordic Open in Pärnu, Estonia.
Andres Roots is a slide guitarist, songwriter and bandleader based in Tartu, Estonia. Combining pre-war blues and swing with 1960’s rock, his Golden Disc-awarded music has received airplay on five continents and featured in TV series and films. Roots has toured in the UK, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Sweden and Finland, played with Honeyboy Edwards (USA) and Tuomari Nurmio (FIN) and opened for the likes of Dr. Feelgood (UK) and Otis Grand (USA). The press in Finland, Sweden and Estonia have greet guitarist as the King of Estonian Blues. The status was confirmed when Roots’ vinyl compilation “Roots Music” went to #1 in the official Estonian albums chart in April 2016 and received a “Blues Album of the Year” Golden Disc at the Estonian pop music awards in March 2017. Released to celebrate Roots’ 40th birthday and 20 years on stage, “Roots Music” was also the first-ever gramophone record manufactured in Estonia, at the newly established Vinyl Plant. CD album “Winter” featuring various international guest vocalists followed in November 2016, reaching #6 in the French and #9 in the British blues airplay charts for December, staying in the charts for two months.