Autor: Ana Carvalho Melo
The Azorean São Pontes and the American Brad Majors form a duo called “I Got the Blues”, which performed at the Faial da Terra Blues Festival.
The duo emerged during the pandemic because of Brad Majors' interest in discovering how Azoreans liked the blues.
“When I was told that Azoreans liked the blues, I wondered why, and then I discovered fado. They are two almost identical types of music. The Portuguese even have the word "saudade" (longing) that represents the blues", revealed Brad Majors.
From this discovery came the challenge to São Pontes.
“We were in the middle of the pandemic when I got a message from Brad, who I didn't know at the time, asking if I wanted to start a blues project. I like blues a lot, but I had never sung nor knew if my voice would fit”, said São Pontes, also revealing: “at the time no one was playing, so I thought it was worth trying. And after a few rehearsals, we headlong into this project.”
Brad Majors states that he discovered in São Pontes “a soul born in Mississippi”, someone who uniquely understands this type of music.
They then started rehearsing and performing in public, which happens regularly at the Lava Jazz Bar.
“We play different types of blues in the way that the original delta blues singers did, that is, with a voice and a guitar, so that you can appreciate the emotions, like fado,” Brad Majors explained.
About this duo's repertoire, São Pontes explains that there are tribute songs to the first creators of the blues, as well as originals.
“Brad introduced me to several musicians and we started with songs associated to the birth of the blues. Then proposals started coming and we decided to include Brad's originals," said São Pontes.
Now comes the opportunity to perform at a festival, for a different audience.
“We will always be very loyal to Sílvia and Cláudia, from Lava Jazz. They treat us as family; but this will be a new opportunity to take our music to other people and we are very excited to see how more people react to the simplicity of the delta blues”, said the musician.
Brad Major is from South Carolina and has worked in advertising in various parts of the United States.
When he retired, he felt it was time to live a new adventure and, together with his wife, he started looking for a country where they could be welcomed, having chosen Portugal.
They started by visiting the mainland: Lisbon, Faro, Porto, Coimbra.
Then they arrived in São Miguel and, on the third day of their visit, they decided they wanted to live in the Azores, where they have been since January 2019.
Brad Major already played guitar in high school and college, but then stopped playing until his career stabilized. Around the year 2000 he started playing again with some jazz bands in the United States.
In turn, São Pontes took part in several projects in the region. Currently she is the lead singer of the band Alquimia.