January 28, 2019 – The Croatian Blues Forces were presented the Keeping The Blues Alive award, which they dedicated to their late founder Drazen Buhin, at a gala event in Memphis last Friday. Croatian Blues Forces is an association which represents Croatia in the blues music world.
Keeping The Blues Alive is a prestigious blues award which is presented every year in Memphis by the Blues Foundation to those whose actions significantly promote the blues music in the world. In the 37 years since the establishment of the award, there have been just a few European blues groups which have had the honor to receive it.
The recipients were announced on November 13, 2018. The explanation that the Blues Foundation gave about Croatian Blues Forces was the following: “Organized in 2008, Croatian Blues Forces, a founding member of the European Blues Union, got its start when blues aficionado Drazen Buhin, 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.”
Boris Hrepic, a well-known Croatian musician and formerly of the Daleka Obala band, is highly impressed with the award. He switched to blues music a while back and has been the president of the Croatian Blues Forces for the last six years. The association is celebrating its tenth anniversary, as well as ten years of sending its representatives to Memphis, so the award could not have come at a better time.
The mission of the Blues Foundation 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.
To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.