Thank you to all those who came and supported the 2022 XO Jam this year in Cognac . It took place in two places this year as Bruno, Henri and René and the team set up a mini-Jam stage at the Camping de Cognac site as well as at ''Les Abattoires". After 2 years of Covid it was great to meet up with old blues friends and make some new ones. We look forward to seeing you all in 2023!
X0 Jam Session, the home of the "pilgrims" who worship the blues
The X0 Cognac Blues Jam Session is an institution on the fringe of the festival carried by enthusiasts
"We're back, like pilgrims!" Henri Van Raemdonck says in an accent from Antwerp. His religion is the blues. And to offciate at his mass, he carries a Hamond B3 organ from 1963. He sits until Saturday on the stage of the "XO Cognac Blues Jam Session", Place du Canton.
The open stage has become an institution on the sidelines of the eighteen-year-old festival that Van Raemdonk launched. It was hard at first, but starting in 2006, a core group of people formed themselves. René Van den Hoven is one of them. "Elsewhere, everything is done for money. Here, nobody gets paid anything!" says the Dutchman.
A dedicated website
The "XO jam Session" grows in strength. In recent years, it has established a real scene. Costs are shared between the Canton Café and the Olympia Crêperie. In 2018, the team added t-shirts and there is even an Internet site, https://www.xocognacjam.com "It was created for free by Altcom, an English web company run by a blues fan who came for the first time in 2017. On the website you can find the history of the Cognac Blues Sessions, in English, French and Flemish," smiles Henri Van Raemdonck.
"An international language"
Professional sound engineer, Bruno Van Reeth has brought top quality sound engineering to the sessions. A stream of musicians follow each other on to the stage. "It also depends on whether there are concerts going on neaby to them that interest them," says Christian Truffi, the boss of the Canton Café.
Everyone can get a look in. "Music is an international language. For Europe, this is an example, it shows that we can live together without problems," laughs René Van den Hoven. "Here, it's a big festival, the second blues in the world after Chicago. But there is also the possibility of playing for people like us. This does not exist elsewhere. When I see musicians, I want to play. Here, it's possible."
A loose translation of the original by Philippe Ménard