Hamar Bluesklubb invited to “selas” on Mjøsa, not in a cracked hollow, but with venerable Skibladner, the world’s oldest paddle steamer in operation.
The cruise on June 22 was sold out and many had come from afar to join the blues cruise. The Jelly Roll Ups But provided great atmosphere on board.
Hamar Bluesklubb’s first blues cruise was a great success both for the board, volunteers, sponsors and blues lovers from Hedmark, Oppland, Buskerud, Møre & Romsdal, Sogn & Fjordane, Akershus and Oslo who were on board. When the old paddle steamer left Skibladnerbrygga on Hamar it blew fresh breeze, but it lied something after the boat lay out from the quay edge, and the passengers settled well on the top deck at the back of the “old lady”.
The paddle steamer blew twice before it backed out from the pier, turned and rolled along the Furnesfjord towards Brumunddal. Right outside the new “skyscraper” it swung port and steamed on to Tingnes and Helgøya before the boat re-routed towards Stangeland and the sea road further past Atlungstad, midfjords again and then finally returned to Hamar.
Gangster-dressed skirts ruled on Skibladner this great summer day. Kent Erik Thorvalden on song and harmonica was in the joking corner and created a mood among the people on the top deck. The brother Thomas Grim Thorvaldsen drew beautiful guitar solos on his new Gibson Jaguar guitar (which he had just acted from the Danish star guitarist Ronni A. Boysen). Thomas Grim Thorvaldsen has become a complete string interpreter.
Bassist Ole Martin Røsten had replaced the double bass with an electric bass, and together with Kai Evenstuen on drums flute comp as well as the paddle steamer from 1856. hung on it an ancient Høfner guitar. It was almost like hearing the old champions Robert Nighthawk, Tampa Red and Homesick James in their power days.
The blues poet Jan-Christian Nordahl performed some poems from his collection, “Bluespoet’s second symphony”, and Bjørn Olsen from Oslo Bluesklubb visited Jelly Roll But on a couple of songs with his harmonica.
Before Jelly Roll But we got to hear the duo Kidwest, Kid Engen on song and harmonica from Sandvika / Sørskogbygda and Steinar Arnes aka Joe West on song and guitar, residing on Jømna. On the repertoire were blues, roots and americana music. Arnes is an excellent string magician, and his voice is of high quality.
Most of the passengers found their way down to the lowest deck to eat shrimp with accessories along the way. Skibladner even had local beer on board, called Stange Stasjon. Skibladner, Mjøsa’s white swan, was a brilliant vessel for the combination of serving and blue strobes this magnificent summer evening, and people enjoyed themselves on board where they were served by the boat’s very welcoming and pleasant crew.