Honest as blues

DANA GILLESPIE and the London Blues Band are scheduled to play in Chennai on Monday, December 9. One of the most accomplished vocalists in the U.K., Gillespie was voted top female vocalist by the British Blues Collection and Blueprint magazine and has earned herself a place in the Blues Hall of Fame.

In a diverse career in the entertainment industry, Gillespie has worked along with Bob Dylan and David Bowie and has been associated with television, radio, theatre and cinema. A press release describes her style as related to that of Bessie Smith and her voice as "sly and coquettish one minute and full of swaggering bravado the next".

Her current band, the London Blues Band, comprises talented blues session men, including piano player Dino Baptiste, bassist Javier Garcia, guitarist Matt Schofield, percussionist Evan Jenkins and Big Mart Winning and Mike Paice making up the brass section.

Gillespie, who has 37 albums to her credit, has been committed to the blues from an early age. An album in Sanskrit has done very well in India. "Blues was my first musical love because it's earthy, spiritual and honest," she says. She is well known for her appearances in London's West End theatres, having played Mary Magdalene in the first run of "Jesus Christ Superstar" and the Acid Queen in The Who's classic rock opera "Tommy".

The British Council, the Taj Group of Hotels, the Arisia Solitaire Diamond Collection, Hutch and Bodhi Muzzik are the sponsors for the concert, which will be held at Smt. Sivagami Pethatchi Auditorium, 179, Luz Church Road, Mylapore. Passes are available on a first come-first served basis at the British Council, 737, Anna Salai.

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