San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

The Blind Pigs celebrate 20-year anniversary, V-day

The Blind Pigs Blues Band has been around for two decades, and in some ways has evolved over that time. But vocalist David Scott, who founded the band, says its always been about the blues.

He grew up listening to the blues in a post-WWII London, and during that time, England’s music scene was heavily influenced by the States. Merchants and seamen brought albums over from U.S. ports, including blues albums.

Costa Rica, on the other hand, has more recently come to embrace the blues. When Scott arrived here in 1990, there was no blues music whatsoever, he recalls. He eventually established a blues and jazz bar in San José, but soon got another idea. “Having no money and being a blues musician, I thought, ‘Ah, I’ll start a blues band,’” he says with a smile.

He came in contact with a local bass player, a German drummer, and an Italian guitar player to form The Blind Pigs Blues Band.

Over the years, though, members of The Bling Pigs have come and gone. “All the musicians [in Costa Rica] who are capable of playing blues music have passed through my band at one time or another,” Scott says. When one of the members is travelling, he will have another friend join in the fun, so “the band always keeps going”.

One of those artists was Costa Rican Minister of Culture and Youth Manuel Obregón. “He can play rock ‘n’ roll and blues that will make your hair pop off,” Scott says. Another is Nancy Buchan, a violinist. Scott is pleased she could be a part of the band, as “she can play it all.” In addition he feels the violin is a unique addition to a blues band.

The common denominator in all the band members is their love for the stage and entertainment, Scott explains. “[Blues] is not all together a sad thing, because you can go out play the blues and make people dance and laugh and sing.”

The Blind Pigs Blues Band plays original songs, but also classics from Eric Clapton, Jimmy Hendrix, Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughan, among others. “First of all you learn the song that they wrote, the way they wrote it,” he says. “Then we change it to our style of blues.”

The Blind Pigs Blues Band has released three albums and is recording a fourth with all new material. The curious name is a reference to speakeasies (illegal establishments that sold booze) in Philadelphia called “blind pigs,” which often featured a blues piano player.

The Blind Pigs Blues Band holds a series of concerts at Jazz Café venues. They’ll play a “Blue Valentine” special on Feb. 14 in San Pedro and then another concert in Escazú on Feb. 27.

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