Music News

The Blues Takes China

Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, Cotai Jazz & Blues Festival
Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds

The migratory path of both blues and jazz is as long – and snaky, and muddy – as the Mississippi itself, wending its way from the Delta to Chicago to the UK…and, now, even China. Today through Sunday, the port city of Macao – one of China’s two special administrative regions, along with Hong Kong – will host the third annual Cotai Jazz & Blues Festival. Over the next four days, 12 finalists, chosen from an initial applicant pool representing 42 nations, will compete in front of three judges (including Pennsylvania Blues Festival founder/producer Michael Cloeren) for a share of the $70,000 cash prize.

Representing the United States will be New York’s own Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, as well as the Old Style Sextet. But beyond our homegrown talent, the field of finalists is stocked with nations from Taiwan to Hungary to Mozambique and subgenres from electronic jazz to contemporary African jazz to jazz tango fusion (for a complete rundown of the finalists, click here).

From the fields and farms of the Delta all the way to Macao (where, according to far-flung Elmore correspondent on the scene, Laura Carbone, “has more Rolex stores than we have McDonald’s'”), the blues continues to evolve far beyond its origins.

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