Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Locals feel the love in Europe | www.azstarnet.com ®

Locals feel the love in Europe www.azstarnet.com ®:
taxing, yet rewarding
Locals feel the love in Europe
By Gerald M. Gay
Tucson, Arizona Published: 12.13.2007"

And when local blues pianist Lisa Otey isn't tickling the ivories in the Old Pueblo, you can find her playing clubs and festivals with audiences topping out at 30,000 strong in Germany, Belgium, France and Spain.
Otey began touring overseas as an accompanist for Los Angeles-based blues musician Candye Kane in 2000, eventually earning invites of her own from club and festival promoters .
Otey has hit Europe at least once a year since. She knew she was developing a significant fan base when she heard people were driving three to four hours just to see her.
"In Europe everything is so close together," she explained. "An hour is usually as far as most people are willing to go."

Otey said networking has definitely helped her spread her wings. Over the years, the sultry singer has formed relationships with artists like Dutch pianist Eric-Jan Overbeek, also known as Mr. Boogie Woogie, who helped set up her tours early on.

In turn, Otey has helped Mr. Boogie Woogie with shows in Tucson and has worked with him to assist at least half a dozen Tucson musicians in getting their own tours started.

It was through their support that bassist Steve Grams first began touring the Netherlands with acoustic duo partner Danny Krieger in 2003. He has made several returns with Krieger and just came back from a trip through England, Ireland and the Netherlands with another local group, the Bad News Blues Band.
If he didn't have family ties in Tucson, Grams said, he would have moved to Europe years ago. He said performing music over there has nothing to do with the pay, which he believes is on a par with the pay in the States, and everything to do with the respect musicians receive in Europe.

"By the time we (The Bad News Blues Band) paid for this and that, the pay was probably not as good as if we had stayed home that month," Grams said. "But where would you rather be, Ireland or Pima County? I know people who go there and lose money just because they want to play to an audience that appreciates it and gets it.

"The people you meet there, professional and amateur musicians, club owners, audiences, know more about American music than most of my musician friends. You can play a small pub on a Tuesday night that holds 50 people and there will be 100 people there. You can't get 50 people to go out on a Saturday night in this town."

Saturday, December 8, 2007

YouTube - KKL Blues Lucerne Festival Off-Stage Piano

YouTube - KKL Blues Lucerne Festival Off-Stage Piano

Alki at the Lucerne Festival Off-Stage Piano in Lucerne, Switzerland with Lisa Otey

Alki won the gold medal at the 2007 Lucerne Piano Playoffs. The woman guffawing in the background is one of the judges.