This summer we return to the road with The Big Bet !!!

27/06 – Tolosa and Blues – (Euskadi – Spain)

28 y 29/6 – Vintage Roots Festival (Milano – Italy)

1/07 – Al Vecchio Tagliere (Bergamo – Italy)

2/07 – La Campagnola (Vairano -Switzerland)

4/07 – Summer Blues Festival (Basel – Switzerland)

5/07 – Stadlblues Chill Out (Gaisruck – Austria)

9/07 – Kultur im Glanz ( Bruck/Mur – Austria)

12/07 – Wienergassen Blues (Bruck/Leitha – Austria)

13/07 – Summertime Blues (Gamlitz – Austria)

9/08 – Blues in Sem (Sem – France)

I always liked the blues… since I had the first guitar in my hands I was seduced. Little by little I was driven by unexpected ways. At age 16 I played in the streets of Buenos Aires… three years later, across the ocean, in Europe, away from my neighborhood, my friends, family, looking for something unknown. And the unknown I liked.

But the sun does not always shine… and the storm came… “the law” forbade to touch the street. It was time to knock on the door of the unreachable clubs.

Over the years the doors opened, first in Barcelona, then in Spain, then in Festivals, now in Europe.

Still wondering why “The Big Bet”?

I’ve always bet with everything… with my life. I never had manager or producer or patron, neither money. All those achieved in these years is thanks to those who threw me a coin when I played in Florida Street, those who bought me the first CDs recorded at home, those who invited me to play in their bar, in their hall, in their Festival, etc…

I hope “luck” goes by my side and continue betting …

Thank you!

Look for in your mind a situation in which your body and your mind relax and transmit you well-being. There are many and each of us has his own. They have it? I can think of a few.

Drive along a long straight road and gentle curves with the mid afternoon sun on one side. Sit at a club table, with a soft drink and the only lighting on the stage. Or rest on a porch at dusk after a hot summer day.

A single ingredient is missing for each of the proposed scenarios. The soundtrack. These idyllic scenarios must always culminate the perfect soundtrack. And I’m going to tell you an open secret. You can get that culmination with three records. Three albums released by the same band. A same band that has the ability to adapt their sound to any pleasant state of mind.

And that band is called Chino & The Big Bet. And those three albums form a trilogy, Six, culminated in the recent publication of his third installment.

Let’s start at the end and let me share that idyllic personal setting.

Sitting on that porch, at dusk that happens to a long and hot summer day. The breeze of the moment brings us the trio formed by Hernán “Chino” Senra, Rod Deville and Giggs Nother, from his “Six 3”.

In its acoustic aspect, the trio settled in Barcelona (when they leave the road), shows us its soft and enveloping and precise in “Lovin ‘Greed” and “Lonsome Train”, in which we show how well they spend with the Vocal harmonies, which add to their already well-known skills in the composition of rural blues.

They make us catch air, hold our breath and release the oxygen while we lay our heads back, with the satisfaction that produces “Drivin’ my Blues Away”, later activating the limbs with the acoustic acceleration of “Tonite”. The rocking of the rocker becomes rhythmic in “Go’n Get It”. Accompanied and clear. Precise. Perfect? For a server, yes.

And an ingredient was missing for this rural setting. They return the vocal harmonies to complement a naughty and spicy quilted and comforting swing. That fast purring so necessary on summer nights, brings us the wonderful “Slow Down”.

But the trio not only dominates the acoustic and rural scenario of the scenario raised by the writer.

I will go back to the aforementioned road with long straight and curved hills. The soundtrack was already published previously with the first installment of the Six trilogy.

Start your engine and let it flow “I’m On The Road Again”. The gas pedal is pressed by them in just thirty seconds. As should be done with a well oiled engine. Gently but firmly. No jerks or jerks, but letting the engine roar until the slide of Chino, Rod’s bass and Giggs sticks put the vehicle at its cruising speed.

They can clap their fingers on the steering wheel to the naughty beat of “Bad Boy Blues.” Open the windows of the car, a treat.

Stop at the gas station. Víctor Puertas’s harmonica will join the trio to finish lubricating the machinery in “Jivin ‘Baby”, joining the slide of the Chino, will make sparks jump in our engine and burn just our tires to take us back to the road. Once there, grasp with both hands, but gently, the steering wheel. Relax your back and notice the gentle push and tickle in the belly that produces “Hush (Pretty Baby)”.

The neon lights of the cafeterias and the bars of bad reputation at the foot of the road will go through our windows until the dawn to which takes us “Hipsquake Mama”, with the addition of the voice of Maria Voronkova in the choirs of this comforting cut.

And to finish this electric trip, Chino & The Big Bet stepped on the accelerator with “Your Love is Dynamite”. You have to get to the club on time.

What club?

The one who described them at the beginning, the one where we had reserved table near the stage. The one that Chino & The Big Bet have been inviting us since their second installment of Six.

And for this mental scenario that propitiates the listening of this disc, Chino and his great bet bid up with force, and they do it reinforced by a section of wind of luxury. Artem Zhul’ev, Pol Prats and Big Dani Perez, add muscle with their saxes to the band’s potential.

They open fire trotting vigorously in “Broken Heart”. The place is filled with smoke of honker saxophone, as an added ingredient to the trio’s credentials. Let’s go to the bar and order another drink. The difficulty will be to try to return to the table with the full cup, since “Come Down to Harlem” makes to throw the ground of the club. The danger is mingled with the initial measures of “I’m Ready To Lose”. The band is stretched and tension increases the temperature of the room. The slide of Chino returns to fire, and the rhythmic base of Rod and Giggs watches that no one escapes, with the invited saxons of bodyguards. “Moonshine” invites us to leave the premises, to enter the night of the dark alley next to the club and Listening from outside to the band, which writhes on itself.

Back inside the room, “Blue” puts our arm around our shoulders and smiles at us, turning to the stage. Stage that turns on its lights clearly showing the band. “Evil Ways” clears the last drink. Elegance, comfort and shine to close with class this second delivery of Six.

Now the work is yours, listener. Order the trilogy at your leisure and choose what you want. Acoustic, electric or electric with winds.

Chino & The Big Bet will execute it perfectly. Versatility that leads to pleasure.

Bet on this formula.

They will tell me.

Arnau Serra (Hotel Blues)

From the beginning “The Big Bet” has been a big bet. After almost 10 years playing with a swing group, I woke up one morning wanting to listen to Robert Johnson and seeing the centenary of his birth approaching, I thought about making a solo album to pay homage to. After the idea matured I changed the focus and I proposed to record to Rod Deville and Martí Elías, then was born The Big Bet.

After a year of satisfactions, many concerts and many albums sold, we saw that the band was working and the public response encouraged us to keep betting…

Then a new door opened. Each year, the Barcelona Blues Festival includes in its programming the presentation of an album. The band they had scheduled in 2012 did not get it ready and they proposed it to us… we did not even have in mind to re-record yet and we had just recruited Giggs Nother, a student of ours from the Blues School, to the battery.

Thus came the idea of ​​”SIX”. A trilogy… A series of 3 CDS with 6 original songs each, with 6 months between each disc. 6, 6, 6, perhaps a way to keep the Robert Johnson pact alive.

The 3 deliveries allowed us to show different facets of the band, different moods, different approaches to the Blues. Just like 3 photographs can be made in different environments, with another light and another wardrobe, the 3 “SIX” are different, but the essence of the group is always there.

The whole repertoire is original. Some issues were written years ago, others have emerged in the last year and a half.

In the first “Six” we have the collaboration of Víctor Puertas and his harmonica on the theme Jivin ‘Baby. But the other songs are a trio, the format in which the band is presented more often..

The second “Six” is a kind of gift to ourselves. There was a lot of excitement we had to record and get on the stage with a section of winds. Then three of the best saxes of the city were added to the project as far as Blues and Swing are concerned: Pol Prats, Artem Zhuliev and Big Dani Pérez.

The third “Six” reflects another reality of the group… an acoustic session where we seek nothing more than to enjoy the subtle taste of crude instruments, as we do many times at the end of the concerts. Without amplification or elaborate production…

The trilogy has come to an end! If you want to know more about the discs, nothing better than to listen

Thank you for enjoying our music!!!

It has been days since I was in the ‘Tabanco‘ of Granada, in the neighborhood of the Albaincín that so well hosted Chino & the Big Bet… I still savor the exquisite combination of the essence of the arab quarter with the stale taste of its blues.

Today we are going to tell you about a group that comes from the Catalan capital and that a few fortunate ones had the opportunity to witness it in a small cultural bar that gathers great essence of the andalusian patio and the american and flamenco music. The visual category was already noticeable before the start of the concert, not only by the magician Tabanco, but also by the elegance with which the three musicians arrived, impregnating the place with the 20s style of his music that made the How much less exquisite scene.

Chino (Hernán Senra) has established himself as a key figure in the swing and blues scene in Barcelona. It achieves nuances of an original variety possessing in addition a net attack and spirited thanks to the instrument father of this guitarist, the resophonic guitar. This slide guitar is seconded by The Big Bet: bassist Rod Deville and Giggs Nother on drums. They both use the guitar in their bluestly character.

They sounded like nightclubs that habituated great african-american musicians in a completely acoustic set. Topics like Bad Boy Blues or Your Love is Dynamite invited you to dance in more than one moment. Buona Sera by Louis Prima, Louis Jordan’s Caldonia, Rollin’ ‘n Tumblin’ by Muddy Waters, They’re Red Hot by the honoree Robert Johnson or Violent love by Willie Dixon were their overflowing versions of accurate styling of the original theme material.

The originality with which they exercised on Hush or I’m on the road again, which came directly to the emotional roots of the viewer was clearly influenced by the hawaiian style of tearful and melancholic sounds of the slide of Chino.

The contrabass and drums, like improvisers of an authentic inspiration, possessed a fast vibrato, skillfully controlled. The incessant rhythmic figures designed by Rod and Giggs took the fixity and the matte tonality, rhythms that made parade in rapid and captivating succession. They picked the native juice of the blues and the swing, exhibiting it at the top of their art.

Their tuning and their attack made them owners of a sober style in extreme, of great inner strength, continuing with the most solid tradition of the blues. The sparkling and synthetic style, and its fluid and lively intonation, are an irresistible attraction.

The magic continued, but this time in ‘La Tertulia‘. Minutes later, insatiable at night, we headed towards the cradle of tango and Granada culture. The peculiar night fecundó when Chino showed us its traditional argentine influences. The ‘porteño‘ gave us a repertoire in its majority Gardeliano like Ché papusa oí, Yira yira one of the songs that best expresses the solitude in the city, Garufa or Silbando. He did not forget one of the greats of the tango, Edmundo Rivero, with Pucherito de Gallina or one of the great poets of this genre Enrique Santos Discépolo where he shows in Cambalache the corruption with which he lived in the crisis of the 30, describing a World without exit whose letter would be well interpreted today.
Chino & The Big Bet was born in 2010 motivated by the father of the blues, the great Robert Johnson, who honored him for the centenary of his birth. The success that captivated both the critics and the audience of this album tribute to the grandfather of rock and roll “100 years” motivated the band to launch in July 2012 the first installment of “SIX” a trilogy composed of 6 themes each one. In February 2013 they released the second, this time with a furious section of winds formed by Arthem Zhuliev, Pol Prats and Big Dani Pérez. This month they recorded the third installment that will have a more crude sound and unlike the previous ones, this one presents / displays with an acoustic format recorded in only one night. These six new songs, which will be released shortly, will enter the album that closes this trilogy.
They have already left a mark in halls and festivals throughout Spain and Europe. After being selected as the band representative of Spain, they won the second place of the competition European Blues Challenge 2013 formed by 20 European countries that took place in the French city of Toulouse last March.
This summer we can find them at festivals in Cahors (FR), Luxenburg or Italy. Every Tuesday they direct the Blues Jam Session of the Harlem Jazz Club of Barcelona and they make two monthly performances in the Campari Milano Cocktail Bar, referring club for the blues and the jazz of Barcelona.

For lovers of african-american music, do not miss the opportunity to attend any of the direct of this magnificent trio that with firmness, vigor and plasticity combine their style with the highest findings of instrumental virtuosity, with a disciplined melodic structure and a spontaneous emotional expression.

Elen Armonía – NoRockSolo

Chino is one of the leading figures of Barcelona’s Blues and Swing scene. A highly original guitarist. His style on slide guitar, encompassing blues, swing or jazz manouche, is unmistakable. Together with his band “The Big Bet”, they have left their mark on numerous clubs and festivals throughout Spain and Europe. An explosive and charismatic live performer, he will impress the most demanding audience.

Hernán “CHINO” Senra was born in Argentina, on August 14, 1980, in the city of Buenos Aires and began playing an electric guitar that his grandmother gave him at age 13. He had several teachers, including Mario Pugliese, Miguel Botafogo Vilanova and Gabriel Gratzer but the style has developed over the years emerged progressively and discover self from the “Dobro” on his first visit to Europe, was 18 years old when he crossed the ocean for the first time.

Always playing in the street and traveling by train … Perhaps traveling, being alone and rely on himself helped him understand more clearly the Blues. His first steps as a professional musician in Argentina gave them, first touching only, on the street. Later joined by other musicians and formed Down Home, at the time was a group of well-established rural blues to basics with who played in Calle Florida and in some pubs and bars of the city center.

Soon, more precisely in June 2001, traveled again to Europe to stay in Barcelona, ​​where he was fortunate to meet Ivan Kovacevic, who two years later refunded “DOWN HOME” encompassing a much more energetic and staff.

Following the enthusiastic reception by both critics and audiences, in July 2012 the group released the album “Six” as the first of a series of 3 discs, each comprising 6 original songs. In February 2013, the second of the series “Six” was released. He heads the following groups: CHINESE & THE BIG BET, THE ACOUSTIC BLUES COMPANY, DOWN HOME ORKESTRA and is director of Studies and teaches at Escuela de Blues de Barcelona.

What do you learn about yourself from the blues and what does the blues mean to you?

For me the blues is a language… a way of playing music. Very simple, but very difficult because of that simplicity, where the character and personality of the musician is more than important.

I’ve learned that the only way to do it is being yourself.  So you have to know yourself and put your life experience in you playing… passion, love, hate, anger, sadness, happiness, etc…

Knowing yourself also means you need to know your limits, and turn them into your weapons. Do what you can do and what you know to do, and do it as good as you can.

If you are good as yourself, you’ll be the best, ’cause nobody can be you… but if you copy, you will be just an imitator…

“It’s (Blues) like tango, flamenco or like jazz manouche… it has it’s has something that cannot be written on the paper, It has to be inside of the musician.”  Photo by Roser Zúmel

How do you describe Chino sound and what characterize your music philosophy?

Well… my sound depends on the amp the venue has or on the sound tech. working at the place…

Being serious, I don’t know how to describe it…  maybe this is not good, but I try to find the better sound for the moment… every venue and every show is different… I don’t play the same way in a small club or at a big festival.

My music philosophy… on the first question I near answer to that… Since last years I just try to keep it simple, nice, and good… good for me. If I like it, I believe it, so I can be true on stage.

What’s been their experience from “studies” with Mario Pugliese, Miguel Botafogo and Gabriel Grätzer?

I didn’t study too long with them and I was too young…  but after the years I understand a lot of things.

I remember Mario told me one day…”Ok, this is the last lesson… I have no more to teach you…” I was sad and disappointed, but now I understand what he did…  or well, maybe he wanted to get rid of me

Miguel was a big star for me… I was a child and I was a bit shy and nervous at his lessons. I don’t remember many technical things, but he was the first to mention “the power of the limits” and how music changes while you change, while you grow up and while you have life experiences.

With Gabriel I’ve discover the roots of blues. The country blues was a new world for me… and I was amazed. With him I made my first steps with slide and fingepicking…

From whom have you have learned the most secrets about the blues and slide?

The big secrets are not that big… you understand when you are ready to.

When I came to Europe I spent long time alone and playing in the street. Always in Open G and with my slide and fingerpicks. I didn’t even listen to music…just played it.  And suddenly somebody comes and ask you to play a… Bob Marley song for example… and I tried to play it my way, with my tuning….

That’s how I started to develop the technic, by myself.

I imagine the old bluesmen, without YouTube or even radio at home. Their way of learning must have been different to nowadays. Maybe they used to learn a few things from somebody and then try to develop it at home, on their own way. I tried to do something similar.

What are you miss most nowadays from the OLD DAYS OF BLUES & SWING JAZZ?

I think, (but I cannot be sure cause I wasn’t there) that music was less rational or intellectual, to have fun, enjoy and dance also.  I think artist wasn’t judged buy their technic but by their show on stage.  I also think they wasn’t “purist”. They had create something

Are there any memories from the European Blues Challenge, which you’d like to share with us?

I will never forget the guy with the advertising showing “10 minutes”

We had a good time, we sold a lot of cds and we made many contacts. That’s why we went. We had no intention to win. When we see the people enjoying with our music or buying our cds and asking to sign them, that’s to win.

The organization was great and also the venue and the sound. Great work.

I know great bands here that don’t wanna go because they don’t believe in music competitions. Me neither, but I think the competition is not the important thing; the important thing is to have the chance to be known by programmers from all around Europe.

“For me the blues is traditional music. It can change through the new generations, but has its own soul. I cannot explain it… But after the years I think I understand the feeling of the blues.”

Which memory from the road with the blues in Argentina and Barcelona makes you smile?

Uff… I always laugh when I remember Edwind, the contrabass player who used to play with me in Argentina…

One day I was playing alone, in Florida Street, in Buenos Aires, and a big fat guy with a contrabass came and stood up beside me without even saying hello… I had a big crowd, and when I looked at him he said: -“Keep playing, I follow you, I have two children to feed”. That’s how we met.

He was always smelling bad, but not because he was dirty but because of the gut strings… he used to put them cow grease to keep them in “good condition”.

On the last trip we did together before I came to Europe we found a cheap room to sleep and the first thing I saw when he opened his old suitcase was a gun. I said: “What the f…, are you crazy?!” and he said – “I came here to make money, and nobody will take it”. That summer I made the money to pay my flight. We were playing every night in the street, even in the afternoon in the beach, under the sun…

What is the best advice a bluesman ever gave you?

I didn’t meet many bluesmen… but the one of the best advices in my life was: “Be yourself.”

I remember Bob Brozman told us at the workshop… “the slide players have better sex”.(laughs!) This is not an advice but is something very important to know.

What the difference and similarity between the ACOUSTIC FOLK BLUES and MODERN ELECTRIC BLUES?

I don’t know what you mean with modern…

For me the blues is traditional music. It can change through the new generations, but has its own soul. I cannot explain it… But after the years I think I understand the feeling of the blues.

One of the magic things of the blues is that it changed from acoustic to electric without losing the escence.

It doesn’t matter if its acoustic or electric, the blues is only one.

It’s like tango, flamenco or like jazz manouche… it has it’s has something that cannot be written on the paper, It has to be inside of the musician.

Why did you think that Blues and Swing continues to generate such a devoted following todays?

Because they are “truth”.  They are emotions… And everybody understands and need emotions.

What’s the best jam you ever played in? What are some of the most memorable gigs you’ve had?

One of the best jam was with Hono Winterstein at the backstage of Pipa Club in Barcelona…  A real jam to have fun… with no audience… we were ten people maybe….

I always thought that Hono is a great player… but after playing with him songs like “Cielito lindo” or “Besame mucho” I understand he is a great musician, who loves music.

We had incredible fun that night.

One of the best shows I made was with Bob Brozman… he was a wonderful musician and person.

Other big show I will always remember will be “Thouars Blues Festival”. We were nervous because after quitting with our drummer we called a student from our Blues School to play with us. After that he is part of the band. The theater was crowded and the show unforgettable. At the end we left the stage and finished the show unplugged.

Do you know why the sound of slide and resonator guitar is connected to the blues?

I tried to investigate about it but I didn’t find to much information… Its also connected to western swing and Hawaiian music, even Oscar Aleman, an Argentinian jazz player had a resophonic guitar.

They are loud, great to play in the street…  If Dopyera Bros. would have lived in Buenos Aires maybe they would’ve been used to play tango, or if they would have lived in France Django would have had one…

What are the secrets of resophonic and slide?

Maybe the secret is to understand it like a different instrument. The guitar has mutated a lot. Is not the same a classical guitar or a heavy guitar with 0.8 strings… We call them the same but are like different instruments.

I play with slide and open G tuning and sometimes people ask me how I can play swing. I say that if an accordion or a violin can why not me? The point is I don’t try or expect to do the same as a guitar.

Some music styles can be fads but the blues is always with us. Why do think that is?

It’s a music that comes from heart that has to be sincere to be good. That will always work.

The blues by itself is just a language; the message is on the interpreter.  Its a way of expression that gets near to everybody… of course if the musicians are good too.

How do you describe your contact to people when you are on stage?

I’m lucky… The people like me on stage. I try to establish a dialog with the audience. I do my best to break the wall between the audience and the band. I play for them and I talk to them, I look them in their eyes. I put all my energy to make them have a good time. But it takes time. Its a kind of seduction. So at the end of the show we talk the same language and it’s a big party. And they give me energy back. Give and take.

That’s why I didn’t have expectations about the Blues Challenge. Is impossible to do what I’m used to in 20 minutes. We transmit feelings, music is an excuse… an instrument…

“If you are good as yourself, you’ll be the best, ’cause nobody can be you… but if you copy, you will be just an imitator…”  Photo by Roser Zúmel

What the difference and similarity between BLUES, SWING, TANGO and FLAMENCO. How close are?

They are very close to each other, as I said before, they come from heart. Music with feeling… with roots and tradition… a good recipe that will last for long.

Do you remember anything funny from Bob Margolin, Bob Brozman and Nathan James?

I had a great time with them… short but good. We are not close friends and maybe they don’t even remember about me but I admire them. They all have personality and understand the blues… and the three of them are humble people.

What is your MUSIC DREAM? Happiness is……

My dream… well, my dream came true many years ago… it begun when I got to Europe and started to grow up like a professional musician… so my dream is to keep on dreaming the rest of my life, to keep on playing and growing up every day… the rest comes by itself.


Interview by Michael Limnios


I do not believe in horoscopes, witchcraft, or UFOs, but when I got in the car with Chino, Rod and Giggs to go to Toulouse at the European Blues Challenge 2013 I had a hunch. And I told him: “I think you’re going to be seconds.” I’ve known them for many years and I know that most people who attend one of their live shows do not easily forget it. By this rule of three, the jury must appreciate his talent. Although surely they would compete with other bands of great musical level, with which something told me that the second rung of the podium was feasible.

We arrived at the Grand Hôtel d’Orléans about midnight on Thursday, shortly after dinner at Mc Donald’s at the entrance to the city of South West France. Rod drove the four hundred kilometers that separate the Vallcarca neighborhood from Barcelona and Toulouse. The expectations were great and the European Blues Challenge was presented as a unique opportunity to meet programmers from any country, winning or not, was secondary. Neither for Chino & The Big Bet nor for the many fans and friends who accompanied them would have been a disappointment not to go up to collect a prize in the party room Le Bikini, where the contest was going to be held.

After a beer and a taco of beef and cheese sauce, at two-thirty on Friday Chino, Rod and Giggs stepped on stage for the first time where they were to have their twenty minutes of glory. The sound test was fast, just ten minutes out of the twenty-five that were programmed. Get some sleep in the hotel, get ready in the room and back to Le Bikini to prepare some of the great moments of the career of these three musicians who have installed their headquarters in Barcelona.


In the dressing room, shared with the Austrian musicians (good people), moments to warm the limbs, to review some finals, to timing some subjects. Cigarettes and some beer, little, and chicken with sauce and baked potatoes to fill the stomach. And it’s after dinner that I see nervous Chino for the first time in a long time. He is aware of the trampoline that the European Blues Challenge can bring to his training. The prize does not matter, but in twenty minutes must convince the public and the programmers and knows that there may be a before and after Toulouse.

22.30h. The moment arrives and its energy invades the room. Although the rush to avoid wasting time are somewhat obvious and Chino’s guitar is out of tune because of such a radical change in temperature, the Barcelona trio has the audience tucked into the pocket after two songs. Bad Boy Blues, Your love is dinamyte or Hush were the great successes of a performance that raised enthusiastic applause in the solos of each of the members of the formation. Final and ovation.

Congratulations of all kinds, of organizers, of programmers, of blues fans, of other musicians. The goal had been fulfilled: surprise. The next day, in the professional blues market, one of the attractions was Chino and his Big Bet, receiving the interest of festival programmers from all over Europe. Now there was only one doubt … what the jury had considered. “No, we certainly did not win” and “why not ?!”, that Saturday was all possible. In fact, there were still ten bands left to go on stage at Le Bikini. And I, of course, continued with my premonition. “Seconds, listen to me, you’ll have seconds,” I repeated.


“And the second place of the European Blues Challenge is for … I’ll say it in Spanish: Chino & The Big Bet,” exclaimed Jean Guillermo, vice president of the European Blues Union. The three musicians who had already won the competition in Spain were now consolidated as one of the reference bands of the European blues. Smiles, hugs and flashes. A small jam with the other winners and to celebrate with the people of the Barcelona Blues Society who came to give their full support.

Before the awards ceremony we repeated over and over again that if they did not win then nothing happened. Yes, of course, but second to Europe is the host, more when you compete with twenty other countries and the jury is made up of six experts of the genre. At noon on Sunday, luggage, return the hotel keys, some photos with the award and au revoir, Toulouse! A city of which I can not write wonders, because we did not have time to visit it, but it will always remain in the memory of the Barcelona blues as the place where Chino, Giggs and Rod consolidated their trajectories in the international arena. Congratulations guys! Seconds … if I already told you!

Eric Lluent


The Barcelona of the beginning of the present century had become the meeting point of many international street musicians who saw the Catalan capital as an excellent opportunity to make a living doing what the body asked them. Every corner of the Gothic seemed to be a good stage and the public, every day changing, was willing to reward them with the good moment lived with a few coins or buying their self-published disc. The city became the reference of the street music of Europe, a space with very little regulation, little police pressure and great tourist influx. In that context, those with more talent met and began musical projects of great attractiveness, some of them incorporating local musicians, less accustomed to step on the street with their instrument but with more academic studies. “In 2004 I studied at Conservatori Liceu and started doing street work with a band of dixieland, Los Krokodillos, in which all were foreigners but me. This experience gave me resistance, we played with cold or hot weather. But the street is very hard”, recalls Martí Elías, drummer Bernat Font Trio and soon to record disc with the Canadian pianist based in New York Gordon Webster. In the field of blues, ragtime, swing and manouche, the 2000 ‘street jazz’ generation was forged, the members of which were severely affected by changes in the rules for street musicians. Ciutat Vella and the Civic Ordinance, which came into force in 2006.

It was then that a few passionate jazz decided to stay in Catalonia and promote self-managed musical projects, drawing money from the bowls that came out in the rooms they programmed. Iván Kovacevic, bass player of Mambo Jambo and Bernat Font Trio, among others, the russian Mikha Violin, leader of Los Krokodillos, or the argentine Hernán Senra, better known as ‘Chino’, founder of groups such as “Down Home”, “Shine” or “Chino & The Big Bet”. “Before on the street in two hours you could get 20,000 pesetas. It was the golden age of street music in Barcelona, ​​but that’s over”, Senra laments. To date, the schedules and spaces are regulated, including the number of musicians who can act in a formation. “After the regulation one no longer knows how to make a living by playing in the street so we have looked for other ways to get ahead. I am now in five different bands and that’s why I have more concerts”, explains Violin.

The internationalization of these musicians who were forged in the open is not new, but it should be noted that in the last two years the activity has intensified. One of the most graphic cases is that of Kovacevic, who during 2012 has been working in countries like Colombia, Mexico or South Korea. The serbian bassist came to Catalonia in 2001 and one of his dreams was to travel with his instrument and meet new cultures. “I was surprised by the presence of the European and American blues in South Korea and in Mexico, in Colombia it is harder to find”, Kovacevic reflects after a year of intercontinental flights. Speaking of scenes of active blues, the Barcelona has nothing to envy most European capitals. As explained Miriam Aparicio, president of the Barcelona Blues Society, ​​every night in the Catalan capital can be found two, three or four concerts and jams of blues. “Now there are more smaller venues that program than 10 years ago, more musicians playing blues. Another thing is the labor situation of these, which has stagnated or worsened, like everything”, analyzes Aparicio.

As a symbol of the consolidation of the export of blues and swing born in the streets of Barcelona, ​​Chino & The Big Bet musical project has been selected to represent Spain in the European Blues Challenge to be held in Toulouse (France) in March. The training led by Hernán Senra, voice and guitar, and argentinean Rod Deville on the double bass and young Granger drummer Giggs Nother (all of them settled in the Catalan capital for years) will take their cool rhythm and thug to a stage that is presents as a unique opportunity to reach programmers and festival organizers from all over the continent. “Music is not just playing, it’s not just the technique of the instrument. It is about being authentic up on stage without imitating anyone. That’s what the greats have done and it’s what we want to do in Toulouse and any of our concerts”, says Senra, who organizes the blues jam at the Harlem Jazz Club in Barcelona every Tuesday for seven years. If they win in Toulouse, they will go to the International Blues Challenge that is organized annually in Memphis (United States). Precisely this week are participating in the contest of Memphis the Suitecase Brothers, duo formed by the Catalan brothers Víctor and Pere Puert


Only a musician who has grown professionally in the street could carry out a gesture like the one he saw last night on the stage of the Coliseum in Barcelona, ​​on the Gran Vía with Rambla Catalunya. Half an hour at eight in the afternoon and the blues and boogie marathon of the Barcelona International Jazz Festival followed his script. On top of the stage The Big Bet, with Rod Deville on the double bass, Martí Elías on drums and Chino on dobro and vocals. Last song. And Chino approaches the microphone not to sing but to explain something that, according to him, can not be silenced. It can be seen that the contracting company had arranged a table in which the public could acquire the discs – self-edited – of the bands that formed the poster of the night. Upon arrival at the theater the company informs them that 25 percent of sales will be left by the organization. Chino decides not to leave a cd on the table. After telling what happened to the public, he opens his silver suitcase, leaves it open on the edge of the stage and heads to the audience: “Take these CDs, tonight I’ll give them to you.”

I’ve known Chino for over four years. He is a very good friend and I could tell you a thousand stories of his concerts and the projects he leads – another day I will – but Sunday was the best performance I have ever seen and, curiously enough, he did not need to touch a single Rope of its double inseparable. The song that sounded was the dignity of those musicians who too many nights are not known by masters of locals who do not know or because they program music and who wake up to update their website and facebook, eat fast to go to class and fall asleep past the two after acting in any bar in the city.

Chino opened the suitcase and the people rushed for the discs. There was not one left and there were about fifty. Later, those who wanted to come to leave some coins or some money. To him, who grew up playing in the streets of downtown Barcelona, ​​this scene should bring him good memories. In the end, enthusiastic applause. The concert was not bad. The lesson was wonderful.

Eric Lluent.