International Blues Challenge – Women in Blues




This year’s Women in Blues showcase was held at Alfred’s on Beale, in the blues heart of downtown Memphis, right on the corner of Beale and S. BB King Blvd!  This event is an IBC tradition and an afternoon many look forward to.  The organizers Michele Seidman and Terri Robbins put a big dash of their heart and soul into this effort.  Anyone in attendance can tell you the results are greatly appreciated.

The line-up had Women from as near as Memphis, and as far as Australia.

Michele served as emcee and was helped by a number of WiB veterans, pictured later.









First order of the day was a Brass Note ceremony to honor Little Laura Dukes.  Ruby Wilson spoke about Little Lara and an old film clip was shown.

















The Brass Note







Brigette Kelly presented the organizers with a gift.







First up was Donna Dahl from the Twin Cities, singer-songwriter and drummer.  Dahl performs with Dave Lambert and is half of the high-energy duo Brother Sun Sister Moon.







Michele brings up one of In Laymen’s Terms, a former Youth performer.  Now with Mom and Brother are in the competition.







The youngest performer was Grace Kuch, a 12-year old blues guitarist from Colorado.  She began with piano at a young age and played bluegrass mandolin starting at age 7.  After getting her first electric guitar at the end of 2013, she was called to the blues. Grace Ritter on drums.










Up came Niecie, who seemed a little anxious when waiting to perform.  Well that was gone as she commanded the stage.  Called a “raw and soulful rocking blues powerhouse.  Backing her were Tas Cru and Sonny Rock.













Chris O, a solo blues artist from the Blue Mountains in Australia did some acoustic with lap slide, dobro, uke.











Lisa and Anthony from Jake and the Lowdown in the audience.


friends meeting up

friends meeting up







Then my tablemate was on, Queen Delphine.  I was sharing a table with her and husband Lee Ellis.  A definite sonic boom performance.










From the heartland, she is a Blues “Belter” in the styles of Koko Taylor and Big Mama Thornton.  Queen Delphine recently released first CD entitled “Come and Get It” consisting of original songs written by her and her husband Lee O Ellis Jr.








Helping out was Janelle Frost a multi instrumentalist.









Tullie Brae is getting a lot of airtime on BB Kings Bluesville Sirius XM.  Her set made it plain why that is happening.














Kyle keeping the stage secure

Kyle keeping the stage secure








The Diva’s on Fire is led by Lectric Liz Lottmann.   As I didn’t get all the names I am just listing and adding pics.  Maybe they are right but don’t count on it.









Rachel “Brick” Fields, a Co-Founder, hails from Arkansas where she began her music career over two decades ago in NYC.  Dawn Cate, is the daughter of Arkansas music legendary guitarist Earl Cate of the Cate Brothers. Dawn has been bringing her blue eyed soul to the regional audiences of Northwest Arkansas for over 20 years.  Other  Arkansas players include Leah Spears, Ocie Fisher and guitarist, Jody Andrews.

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Diane “The Beast” Rudolph is from Miami, FL.






Bassist Alma Blecher of Aguilar Pangasinan, Philippines began playing music in church then eventually with bands outside church.









Keyboardist Patti Unruh of Tulsa Ok is a life-long Classical Pianist who now adds Rock and Blues to her varied repertoire.

DSC_2708 DSC_2709








Tori Rudolph, the young Diva apprentice, was born in South Florida and has been singing in church since she was four years old.







The NYC connection came in the person of Patti Parks, a riveting artist, who is known for her soulful blues.



















Karen Lovely brought on Regina Bonelli, a singer/songwriter/keyboardist from NYC.







Other presenters








Redd Velvet performed a powerful soul touching piece of the blues origins and its development as part of Slavery.









on bass

on bass


Crossing the pond and coming back to the states, we get to present Eef, the tall-Dutch-girl-with-the-red-guitar who moved to the US in 1999 and currently lives in Denver CO.





Jen Oken at work

Jenn Ocken at work







Amanda Rey is no stranger to the blues scene, she was born in Memphis.

DSC_2887 DSC_2877







With her powerhouse voice and soulful vocal delivery, Carlene Thornton has amazed audiences from Maine to Massachusetts.

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saying good-by

saying good-by









Lee and Sonny

Lee and Sonny






Me with Queen Delphine and Lee

Me with Queen Delphine and Lee







These blues artists really put on a show.  We definitely wanted more.  Women in Blues provided a bluesy rockin’ afternoon and I am sure are going to keep capturing audience wherever they perform.

Questions/comments, I can be reached through the Blog comments or at  BluesBeatNews is written, produced, directed and photographed by Domenic Forcella.  My weekly Blues Beat column appears in the New Britain Herald, Bristol Press, Middletown Press and Torrington Register-Citizen.


About bluesbeatnews52

Blues columnist writing a weekly column dedicated to the Blues. The only column of its kind in a commercial (paid subscription) newspaper. Column appears in the Middletown Press, Bristol Press, Torrington Register-Citizen, and the New Britain Herald. Forcella has served on the Board of Directors of the Blues Foundation representing the Journalism constituency. Served on the Board of Directors Connecticut Blues Society as Past President and Past Editor of newsletter. Recipient: Keeping the Blues Alive award in Journalism from the Blues Foundation. Has contributed both writing and photos to nationnal blues publications.

6 responses to “International Blues Challenge – Women in Blues


    There is no end to the talented blues performers.

  2. It was a pleasure to perform with the lovely and talented Donna Dahl at The Women In Blues Showcase this year. Thanks to all and especially, Michele Seidman and Terri Robbins for all their efforts.

  3. patricia shaw

    Proud to be part of this event and happy so many people were in attendance having a good time !

  4. Thank you for this awesome article and pictures highlighting The Women In Blues!! It was such a pleasure meeting you and spending the time getting to know you at the table!! Heartfelt thank you for all you do in keeping The Blues alive!! Until we meet again, your friends Lee and Harriett Ellis aka Queen Delphine and The Crown Jewels.

  5. Thank you so much for covering this WIB event and including Divas On Fire! I hope to see everyone again next year.
    Rachel Fields

  6. Hello there! Under “other presenters” the Lady in Blue is me, Erica Brown, and the Lady in white is Ms. Twyla Birdsong. The Lady in Red in the last photo is Ms. Freddye Stover! Thanks!

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