ANA POPOVIC is one of the world’s top female blues guitarists.
Ana was born in Belgrade, formerly Yugoslavia. At age 15, she immersed herself in her father’s enormous blues & soul record collection, grabbed his guitar, and set to work, transforming herself into an extraordinary young guitarist.
Ana has since evolved into an internationally recognised musician who tirelessly traverses the world performing at major blues, jazz, and rock festivals. Her work combines deep feminine vocals with smouldering electric-funk slide guitar, jazzy instrumentals, and all packed with a tight blues beat.
In 2003 Ana was the first European to be nominated for Best New Artist Debut at the W.C. Handy Awards. In 2014, she was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year category. She won the Best Blues DVD award at the Blues Matters, 2011.
We were fortunate enough to witness her excellent stage presence at Southampton’s wonderful music venue: The Brook.
After a sexy sax (Claudio Giovagnoli), lubricious keys (Michele Papadia), and ravishing drum (Jerry Kelley) musical introduction, Ana super-sparklingly strutted onto the Southampton stage in a pair of dangerously high-gloss heels, a leopardish basque, and in skintight jeans. One of her openers was ‘Can You Stand the Heat’ the lead track from her ninth full-length Tony Coleman (BB King’s drummer) co-produced 2013 album of the same name, to represent the best of Ana’s red-hot and tangy-funky style of luscious smoky blues.
Buthel Burns (bass & backing vocals) featured early-on with a dazzling delivery of slap-bass on an up-tempo version of Object of Obsession, a song that, although written about runaway feelings, felt meticulous and scrupulously coordinated by Ana’s ensemble of gifted musicians.
‘The time is right, people…’ Ana shouted as the obsessive number blossomed into the nimbler and perhaps chunkier ‘Love You Tonight.’ For the pure blues appreciators in the Southampton audience, ‘Power Over Me’ embraced some slick Santana-style licks, set amongst an impressive rhythmic ambience that was laid-down by the percussive elements of Ana’s band, and then floriated by expressive saxophone and exuberant organ.
Songs like ‘We Can Change the World’ with Ana’s sparkling bottleneck pyrotechnical razzmatazzery, and the irrepressibly vivacious ‘Doin’ This’ with carbonated high-charge guitar zing, together with accompanying shuddery, goosebumpy rhythms, were possibly show favourites, but the entire concert was a convergence of synchronisation, consolidation, and musical cooperation. And, as Ana observed, fittingly, now is the time… for love!
File alongside: Albert King, Albert Collins
All images, photo credit: Peter Foster ©
ANA POPOVIĆ’S new album, titled ‘Power, will be released by ArtisteXclusive Records on May 5, 2023.