Poretta Soul Festival: Rhythms of the American Deep South

A grand finale of the festival

The Porretta Soul Festival is sure to sweep diehard jazz, blues, and funk music fans off their feet for the event’s 31st edition from July 19 – 22. For the past 30 years, Graziano Uliani, an Italian art director passionate about soul music, has been bringing the rhythms of the American South to a spa town tucked away in the Reno Valley Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. The 2018 concert series promises to be truly phenomenal with a lineup of established musicians and newcomers that will appeal to those seeking a level of authenticity that is remarkable for a European festival.

Among the entertainers whose names should ring a bell to soul music aficionados is the musical genius that is Swamp Dogg. The prolific R&B and soul singer will perform his satirical and slightly raunchy songs on both Saturday and Sunday. Tennessee blues singer- songwriter Don Bryant, famous for his compositions dedicated to his wife Ann Peebles, will be appearing live with the Bo-Keys on Saturday. Recent Grammy Award nominee Fabrizio Poggi, a singer and harmonica player who has released 22 albums and published four books to date, will be accompanied by two-time Blues Music Awards nominee Mitch Woods on Saturday.

On Thursday night at 8 pm, break out your dance shoes for the Jbees Band’s tribute to Soul Train, an American dance show that aired from the 1970s to 2006 that featured R&B, dance, pop, soul, funk, jazz, and disco music. The Italian disco group will be followed by Mitch Woods and His Rocket 88’s. Woods hails from Brooklyn, New York, and he and his band have been torchbearers of the American boogie-woogie heritage for two decades.

On Friday night at 8 pm, enjoy the Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra. Paule has been touring and recording in the Bay Area for years with legends such as Boz Scaggs, Norton Buffalo, and Charlie Musselwhite. Joining him on the Rufus Thomas Park stage will be Sax Gordon, with his jump blues style, and Larry Batiste, the music director for the Grammy Awards. The crowd will be further energized by the jazz and blues rhythms of Missy Andersen, John Ellison from Soul Brothers Six, Terrie Odabi, Wee Willie Walker, and Booker Brown. The Luca Giordano Band and blues guitarist Chris Cain will also be performing together on July 20.

During the day in Porretta, festival goers can head over to the Terme di Porretta, a spa with a natural thermal bath of sulfur waters from springs that offer relief for the body and mind.

Tickets for individual days are £15 on Thursday and £30 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Four day passes cost £90 and three day passes are £75.

For more information, please visit www.porettasoul.it. Tickets are available on www.vivaticket.it. (sheean hanlan)