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Eli Marcus

about Eli Marcus

...It was just past midnight, in a dark and empty room in downtown Toronto,
Canadian Blues and Jazz artist Champagne Charlie was teaching me some of my first Ragtime guitar licks.
I guess that's when I got really serious about the Blues.
....or maybe it was that Blind Blake LP that I found standing alone
in a store-rack on Harvard Avenue in Boston when I was 15 years old - for the price of 59 cents!

Early on, I felt that my mission in life is to help perpetuate the Blues,
to help others understand the beauty that is the Blues, and to keep it alive.
Over the years I have worked at promoting my musician friends in any way I can.
I ran the Fingerboard folk coffee-house in Toronto in the late 1970's,
and organized a number of small Blues and Jazz concerts to help expose my musician friends
to the University of Toronto audiences (while completing my BSc. degree).
I also spent a few years as a freelance photographer and writer,
interviewing and reviewing some of my favorite artists for local newspapers or magazines,
including some rare interviews with artists who normally refused to speak to the press.

  • In 1981 I emigrated to Israel, living on a Kibbutz near the northern border and performing on the Kibbutz circuit as well as little clubs and festivals (such as the Jacob's Ladder Festival).

  • In the late 1980's, I moved to the big city (Tel Aviv) and I got involved in Israeli radio, recording a 13-part series of one hour shows on the history and the variety of the Blues for Israel Army Radio (Galei Zahal) which was on the air over a period of 2 years.

  • In the 1990's I helped build the roster of artists at several festivals, for example, the Haifa Blues festival of 1993 (where I also performed on stage with Steve Freund).

  • From 1995-2000 I helped the Camelot Club in Tel Aviv create a monthly series of guest Blues artists from the USA, and I wrote a monthly column (in Hebrew) on the Blues in the Camelot music magazine over a 4 year period - I wrote over 40 articles on the Blues during that time.

  • In 1996 I brought the Blues to the International Guitar Festival in Tel Aviv (which previously focused only on Classical guitar and Flamenco music), organizing special multi-artist programs and performing on stage at the festival (I also performed at the festival in 1996, 1999, and 2001).

  • Since 1997, I have also been involved in the Blues For Peace organization, helping my good friend John Mayer with different projects to promote more awareness of the Blues in Israel and worldwide.

  • In the fall of 2002 I renewed my radio activity with a monthly Blues show on public national Radio 88FM (see my playlists at Eli's Blues Radio) and a weekly Blues show on the internet at "Radio Ba Am". I continued to broadcast at Radio 88FM until a major management change in 2009 eliminated the Blues content .

  • In the summer of 2003, I created the SummerBlues Festival at the Givatayim Theater, and was the Artistic Director for 2003 and 2004. At the SummerBlues Festival, I gathered together local Israeli Blues and rock artists for a 3 day festival, as well as one or two guests from the USA - it was a real success by local standards.

  • In July 2004, I helped establish a music performance club in a photo studio/art gallery in downtown Tel Aviv named Artspace, which ran for a little over a year, featuring local Jazz and Blues artists, multimedia shows, and original Israeli singer songwriters.

  • In September, 2005, I completed three years of collecting and editing stories from Blues people around the world, and I published my first book in January 2006 - Touched by the Blues.

  • In the spring of 2009, as local interest in Blues seemed to grow, I helped found the Israel Blues Society together with a number of like minded Blues lovers and musicians in Israel.

  • In the summer of 2011, I found a new radio station at the Interdisciplinary Center in Hertzeliya that were very enthusiastic about having a Blues show, and my current weekly radio show Traveling Blues is the result - Wednesdays at 18:00 GMT on IDC Radio, 106.2FM, and streaming at (listen to Traveling Blues podcasts on Soundcloud).
  • Eli Marcus

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