Croatian Blues Forces are the recipients of the most prestigious American blues award!
Croatian Blues Forces (CBF) received overwhelmingly good news on Tuesday, November 13th from Memphis. Worldwide blues umbrella organization – The Blues Foundation (BF) – has decided to award CBF in January next year, with the most prestigious American blues award – Keeping the Blues Alive (KBA). It is an award that BF is giving since 1981. to associations and individuals that have promoted blues music in various areas. Among others recipients are clubs, festivals, photographers, educators, journalists, managers, media, promoters, music labels, blues associations… It is a reward that is not honoring the performers but all those behind the scene who work very hard to keep the blues going forward. A special treat is that this award, from it’s beginnings in 1981. was given to only 3 non-American blues associations (The British Blues Connection 1990., Asociacin Musical Blues Hondarribia Spain 2015. and European Blues Union 2018.) and that we are the first national blues association that prides itself in receiving the KBA award.
The recipients were announced yesterday, and the explanation that BF gave about CBF is the following:
Organized in 2008, Croatian Blues Forces, a founding member of the European Blues Union, got its start when blues aficionado Drazen Buhin Buha, the secretary of the Croatian Musicians Union, arranged for representation of Croatia at the first European Blues Conference, held that year in Parma, Italy. In June 2009, CBF sent its first musician to compete in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Later that year, CBF held its Croatian Blues Challenge following the model and rules of the IBC, and in January 2010, CBF sent the winners in both the solo/duo and band categories to Memphis. Every year since, CBF has conducted a Croatian Blues Challenge and sent representatives in both categories to the IBC. Ensuring the future of blues music in Croatia, CBF has sent representatives to the Youth Showcase three times, in 2013, 2014, and 2017. In cooperation with record labels Spona and Croatia Records, CBF has produced nine blues releases, with four more being finalized. CBF continues to support Blues in the Schools programs, both locally and internationally, produces local blues concerts throughout the year, and has either started or helped produce a number of blues festivals across Croatia (Zagreb International Blues Festival, Split Blues Festival, Zagorje Blues Etno Festival).
First reactions to the news were:
“When I heard it, I had to sit down, cause my knees flinched. I was overwhelmed with joy and pride that years of our work in promoting Croatian blues in and out of the country, on the 10th anniversary of Croatian Blues Challenge, has been recognized and awarded from a worldwide blues organization. The picture of our Buha came instantly in my mind – how he modestly but with great content, raises a glass of white wine, somewhere up there in heaven, cheering to this reward. Before his departure he suggested me as the president of this association and I constantly feel that he is helping me from above not to give up. This reward is another sign that it all makes sense and we should continue. Blues on!” (Boris Hrepić Hrepa – President of CBF).
“This reward is a huge recognition for CBF, the highest recognition we could have gotten. As the first president of this association I am proud and happy. I hope we raise our blues scene to an even higher level with our further actions. I am sorry our late Buha is not with us so that we can celebrate together, but I hope he is celebrating somewhere up there, because he is most deserving for this achievement.” (Tomislav Goluban, first President of CBF and the first Memphis goer).
“I remember when we were in Memphis the first time, in 2009. We were sitting in the lobby of the prestigious Doubletree Hotel, looking at the recipients of the KBA award coming out from the ceremony. Then Buha said something like: One day we will sleep at this hotel and receive this award. So there, it took 10 years, I am just very sad he isn’t here to receive it.” (Siniša Bizović Bizi – Secretary of CBF)
The Blues Foundation
Our Mission is to preserve blues heritage, celebrate blues recording and performance, expand worldwide awareness of the blues, and ensure the future of the uniquely American art form.