Why Cape Town gets the blues…

Musically speaking, the blues may not seem a natural fit for beautiful, bouncy Cape Town, but local blues expert Mike Combrinck explains why this myth should be laid to rest once and for all.

In days gone by you might have struggled to find a blues gig in Cape Town – but we’re happy to report that over the last few years, the blues has been flourishing. A major contributor to this is the introduction of the annual Table Mountain Blues Summit in 2006. Rated as one of the best blues festivals in Africa, this is a gathering of the finest blues musicians the country has to offer.

While there is no Cape Town music venue dedicated exclusively to blues, there are a number of regular blues events around the city, and certain venues occasionally feature musicians known for their skill in this genre.

Twice a month the centrally-located Mercury Live hosts an event fondly known as Bluestown. This well-attended event happens on the second and the last Thursday of every month. It features a different house band each time, with a rotating array of popular guests, usually on guitar and/or vocals.

In Cape Town’s northern suburbs, Die Boer hosts Blue Tuesday every week, also a collaborative affair with many guests.

There is always a blues event happening somewhere. Other music venues to keep an eye on are Bertie’s Moorings, The Hillcrest Quarry, The Cape Farmhouse, Café Roux and Alma Café.

A popular monthly gig that calls itself “Blues Meets Rock” is hosted, alternately, by either Boulevard Blues (blues) or Pebbleman (blues/rock). It is usually a rocking great affair during which they share the stage.

If you’re a fan of the blues and would like to know what is happening around Cape Town, then tune your internet radio to Zone Radio at 6pm on a Monday evening for a three-hour blues treat featuring local and overseas artists. One thing is for sure, Cape Town blues are here to stay.