WITH JUNE CORE, BOB WELSH, AKI KUMAR & RANDY BERMUDES
Hailing from the West Coast of the US, June Core (drummer – Charlie Musselwhite) has put together an all-stars band to play at Girrakool.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, June is a self-taught musician. In his early career June gigged in and around Cleveland with organist Eddie Baccus and with various funk, jazz and soul groups. In 1978 June was introduced to Robert Lockwood Jr. and Johnny Shines. Eddie Baccus suggested that Robert use June for an upcoming tour. Lockwood reluctantly agreed to hire an unproven drummer and, consequently, the band was fired after the first week because June insisted on playing funk grooves over blues. The club owner recognized talent however, and allowed the band to practice in a broom closet. Robert and Johnny taught June, in one day, five different shuffles to use in any blues. “That was start of my career”, says June. Robert and Johnny Shines became June’s second fathers and his musical relationship with Lockwood lasted nearly ten years. As a result of his relationship with Robert Lockwood, June shared the stage with BB King, James Cotton, Mighty Joe Young, Willie Dixon, and Albert Collins and many others.
In 1987 June headed west to San Jose, California. Shortly thereafter, he was hired by Mark Hummel, a stint that lasted two years. He soon met Andy Santana and, along with Mike Schermer, founded the Soul Drivers, a highly successful Santa Cruz based blues band. In 1991, The Soul Drivers became Angela Stehli’s backup band. June also worked as a side man for Miss Laverne Baker. In 1996 June was asked to join Little Charlie and the Nightcats and spent five years touring with them. In 2004 June was hired by Charlie Musselwhite and has been a member of the band since. June has multiple Blues Music Award nominations and has played on several Grammy nominated recordings.
Hailing from Covington, La. Bob moved to the Bay Area in his late teens, where he’s been part of the blues scene for almost twenty years. He started out in the Rusty Zinn band, and from there has backed up & toured with multiple luminaries all over the world, including Jackie Payne, Charlie Musselwhite, John Nemeth, Mark Hummel, Roy Gaines, Snooky Pryor, Pinetop Perkins, E.C. Scott, Kim Wilson, Billy Boy Arnold, Lazy Lester, James Harman, James Cotton, and many others.
Randy Bermudes has been a part of the rich SF Bay Area blues scene, for over twenty five years. He has toured around the world and recorded with national and international artists such as Rusty Zinn, Mark Hummel, RJ Mischo, Little Charlie And The Nightcats, Eric Lindell, Anson Funderburgh, James Cotton, Pinetop Perkins, Billy Boy Arnold, Kim Wilson, Lazy Lester, Carey Bell, James Harman, Charlie Musselwhite and The Fabulous Thunderbirds.
Dynamic frontman & harp player Aki Kumar is a bonafide star among the next generation of West Coast blues artists and the world’s first professional blues harmonica player to hail from India. A master of the hugely influential Chicago blues sound, Kumar inherits his style from the harp legends of the 1950s and 60s. Aki has a unique voice in the blues, blending elements of blues harmonica pioneers of yesteryear with a signature sound of his own.
Born and raised in Bombay (now Mumbai) – India, Kumar left his home with the intention of working as a software engineer in Silicon Valley. Then he discovered the blues, and his life dramatically changed. With his Little Village Foundation debut, Aki Goes to Bollywood, he began integrating elements of Indian music into his musical and visual presentation, making for a multi-cultural mash-up that sounds like no one else, yet never loses touch with its blues foundation. Kumar’s follow-up album, Hindi Man Blues, boasts his most ambitious cross-cultural fusion to date, and features liner notes by veteran blues great Charlie Musselwhite. Kumar has performed at the prestigious Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, has been featured on PRI “The World,” and has toured in Russia, South America and Scandinavia.