“We love the roots, but we’ve chosen to live on a branch of this wonderful tree.”
A Contra Blues – “IDKWTBI”
On “IDKWTBI” – an acronym for “I don’t know what the blues is” – Barcelona’s A Contra Blues takes on the purists. The ones who say the blues is this and the blues sure ain’t that.
“We love blues, but we have never been a ‘blues’ band,” says Jonathan Herrero of his five-piece outfit, unlikely winners of the European Blues Challenge in 2014.
“IDKWTBI” is his plea for a blues that transcends geographical, ethnic, socio-political and even musical boundaries. Built on lyrics like “I don’t have a mojo hand and I’m as white as white can be,” the song can be taken as tongue-in-cheek, though the singer is definitely frustrated by those who dismiss A Contra Blues because they come from Spain and are musically diverse – as evidenced by the funky, Chili Peppers-esque guitar riff underpinning each verse of “IDKWTBI”.
“I don’t wanna know what blues is,” he laughs. “I’m tired of the matter.”
Here’s “IDKWTBI” from A Contra Blues’s outstanding 2017 release Heart and Guts: