Jontavious Willis

LØRDAG 21:45 – 23:15

 

 

Jontavious Willis, 2020 Anchorage Folk Festival

Line up: 
Jontavious WillisGuitar, Vokal

Jontavious Willis

I hver generation brager en ung bluesmand ind på scenen og sender et stød gennem bluesmiljøet. Jontavious Willis har bare den effekt på folk.
Den 24-årige multiinstrumentalist blev nomineret til en GRAMMY i 2020 takket være hans seneste album, »Spectacular Class«. Gennem originale tekster skrevet af Willis selv, leverer den begavede musiker et tidløst album, der byder på dynamisk vokal og alle typer blues: Delta, Piemonte, Texas og Gospel. Hans iøjnefaldende fingerpicking, flat-picking, and slide-dygtighed stråler igennem hele albummet. 
GRAMMY-prisvindende kunstnere Taj Mahal og Keb’ Mo’ spillede en aktiv rolle i at producere »Spectacular Class« med Taj Mahal krediteret som Executive Producer og Keb’ Mo’ som producer.

Willis kommer fra Greenville, Georgia, og voksede op med at synge gospelmusik i Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church sammen med sin bedstefar. Fra en tidlig alder havde han talentet og passionen for musik og evnen til at skærpe sine færdigheder hurtigt. I en alder af 14 stødte han på en YouTube-video af Muddy Waters, der spillede “Hoochie Coochie Man” og blev øjeblikkeligt hooked på blues.

Den levende legende Taj Mahal, beskrev ham som “Wonderboy” og “Wunderkind”. I 2015 bad Mahal Willis om at spille på scenen med ham. Den optræden resulterede i en brølende respons fra publikum og førte Willis til større scener og gav ham mange muligheder, herunder som opvarmning ved udvalgte shows på TajMo-turen, med hans musikalske mentorer Taj Mahal og Keb’ Mo’.

Mange af Willis fans betragter ham som en gammel sjæl. hans stemme og den måde han spiller instrumenterne på berører selve rødderne af countryblues. Han bringer musikkens sande sjæl tilbage.

En avisoverskrift kaldte ham engang en “70-årig bluesmand i en 20-årig krop.”
»Spectacular Class« er opfølgningsudgivelsen på hans debutalbum, »Blue Metamorphosis«, som blev udgivet i 2016 høstede gode anmeldelser fra så bemærkelsesværdige magasiner som Living Blues og Blues & Rhythm. I 2018 vandt albummet anerkendelse af Blues Foundation gennem deres International Blues Challenge, hvor han blev hædret med prisen for bedste selvproducerede cd.

Hvad betyder blues for dig? 
”For mig er blues den vigtigste musikalske genre og mange andres rødder. Dybere end som så er det en kulturel ting for mig og min arv. Jeg føler, når jeg spiller blues, at jeg forbinder mig med dem før mig og præsenterer den for andre, en spirituel ting.”
Hvordan beskriver du din lyd? 
”Min instrumentlyd er enkel; min stemme er det, jeg sætter i højsædet. Jeg føler, at det er det, blues handler om, hvis du begynder at fokusere mere på dit instrument end din vokal, glemmer du formålet med blues, som er at fortælle en historie.”
Hvordan forbinder du dig som ung sort mand i det 21. århundrede med din tipoldefars musik? 
”I nogle aspekter opstår de samme problemer den dag stadig. Ud af al den nuværende musik forbinder jeg mig bedst med blues. De samme bluessange fra Jim Crow-æraen kan stadig synges i dag. Sangene om at blive mishandlet og misbrugt udkæmpes stadig, vi kæmper dagligt.”

🇬🇧 ENGLISH 🇬🇧

Jontavious Willis

Every generation or so, a young bluesman burst onto the scene and sends a jolt through the blues community.  Jontavious Willis may just have that effect on people. The 24-year-old multi-instrumentalist was nominated for a GRAMMY in 2020 thanks to his latest album, »Spectacular Class«. Through original lyrics written by Willis himself, the gifted musician delivers a timeless album that features dynamic vocals and all types of blues: Delta, Piedmont, Texas, and Gospel. His stand-out fingerpicking, flat-picking, and slide prowess are also on display.
GRAMMY award-winning artists Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ played an active role in producing Spectacular Class with Taj Mahal credited as Executive Producer and Keb’ Mo’ as the Producer.

Hailing from Greenville, Georgia, Willis grew up singing Gospel music at the Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church with his grandfather. From an early age, he had the talent and passion for music and the ability to sharpen his skills fast.  At the age of 14, he came across a YouTube video of Muddy Waters playing “Hoochie Coochie Man” and was instantly hooked on the blues.

He got his much-needed break from the living legend Taj Mahal, who described him as the “Wonderboy” and “the Wunderkind.” In 2015, Mahal asked Willis to play on stage with him. That appearance resulted in a roaring response from the audience and led Willis to bigger stages and broader opportunities, including an opening slot at select shows along the TajMo tour, featuring his musical mentors Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’.
Many fans of Willis regard him as an old soul. His style of playing the instruments and his voice touch the very roots of country blues. He brings back the true soul of the music. A newspaper headline once called him a “70-year-old bluesman in a 20-year-old body.”
Spectacular Class is the follow-up release to his debut album, Blue Metamorphosis, which was released in 2016 and garnered him rave reviews from such notable magazines as Living Blues and Blues & Rhythm. In 2018, the album earned recognition by the Blues Foundation through their International Blues Challenge, where he was honored with the Best Self-Produced CD Award.

What do the blues mean to you?
To me, the blues is the most important musical genre and the roots of many others. Deeper than that it is a cultural thing for me and my heritage. I feel when I play the blues I am connecting with those before me and presenting it to others, a spiritual type thing.
How do you describe your sound?
My instrument sound is simple; my voice is what I put at the forefront. I feel that’s what the blues is about. When you start focusing on your instrument more than vocals you are forgetting the purpose of the blues, which is to tell a story.
How do you connect as a young black man in the 21st century with the music of your great-great-grandfather?
In some aspects, the same problems of that day are still occurring. Out of all the current music I connect with the blues the best. The same blues songs of the Jim Crow era can still be sung today. The songs about getting mistreated and abused are still fought we battle daily.