Kathy Nobrega, Blues Singer

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Kathy Nobrega, blues singer
Kathy Nobrega

The Blues Felt Right

By Kathy Nobrega

I started singing the Blues in the early 1990ís after trying every other type of music and never feeling it was right.  Although I can sing just about any style of music, the pleasure was not there.  The Blues felt right from the minute I began singing it.  I didnít have to try to sound like anyone for the first time.  I just sang how I felt and it worked!

I have always performed in any contest I could find and when I started researching more about the Blues, I found out about the King Biscuit Blues Festival that could lead you to the W.C. Handy competition in Memphis, TN.

So, I flew to Memphis, TN to perform in the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, AK with the hopes of winning that competition so I could then compete in the W.C. Handy competition later that week in Memphis, TN.  Although, I didnít know how I would perform because I had no band mates or equipment, at that time, to be a one-woman show either.  What to do?

As fate would have it, I met a wonderful man by the name of Lou Savarin who had a restaurant on Beale Street in Memphis.  He let me sing with the piano player in his restaurant and really dug my voice.  He then introduced me to a drummer who then introduced me to some street musicians he played with.

They were performing in front of Louís place, so I took a listen.  They were pretty good.  I asked them if they knew the song Dr. Feelgood, they did and we gave it a try.  It wasnít bad for the first try with musicians I had never met before.  I even got some change thrown into the bucket!  I gave them another song to practice, after we figured out the key of F sharp was the best for me.  I am not a trained musician so I had to sing it and they had to work it out until we knew the key was right.  This was for the song, Payiní the Cost to be the Boss.

I went totally on faith, as you can probably guess, that we would come together on the day of the Festival and sound half-way decent.  So we packed up the rented mini-van and off we went.

I had never done anything in my life like this before.  Just on a whim, hoping, praying that the Blues would save my butt!

The Festival performance went well but I did not move on to the next level to W.C.  That was ok though, because after my performance at the Festival a lady came up to me and asked where I was from and where do I perform.  She said she would travel anywhere to hear me sing.  That touched me and I knew that my trip had not been a waste and that any blue feelings I had of not winning were quickly washed away.

I then went back to Memphis to be a tourist and went into BB Kings club on Beale Street where Ruby Wilson was performing.  She asked if anyone wanted to sing some songs with her.  I was quickly shoved out onto the packed dance floor by my Dad and I grabbed the mic and began free form singing whatever came out of me because I didnít know the words to what Ruby was singing.

Well, the crowd went wild and so did BBís band, the King Bees.

I also took joy in the fact that I did something ďcrazyĒ in life and just went for it.  I got to see a different part of America that I had never been to before.  I got to do the whole Elvis-Graceland thing, which was so much fun.  What a time capsule!

Singing the Blues has brought me nothing but pleasure in my life.  How ironic that the Blues really end up bringing happiness.

Sincerely,
Kathy
Kathy Nobrega Website

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from the bookTouched By the Blues

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