Anurag Tagat: How are you guys prepping for the India tour? I hope you've got all your shots and know you can't drink tap water here.
Jennifer Milligan: Shots? (laughs) Yes, we’ve been informed about the water! We’re pumping up on vitamins, buying essential oils and a coconut to crack over our heads before leaving.
AT: This is a bit of a cliched question, but have you guys heard any Indian music?
JM: Yes. It’s eye-opening! I listen to Indian music when I practice yoga. I haven’t tried to understand the intricate rhythms, but I’m open to the experience.
AT: Blues is certainly picking up in India, with festivals like the Mahindra Blues Festival in Mumbai and now Simply the Blues getting you guys down. Have you been in touch with any of the previous blues artists who have played in India?
JM: Not really. The blues community across the world is huge in its own right. I did check the videos of the Mick Clarke band that’s Simply The Blues had put up on their YouTube channel, and Mick sounded amazing. But we have friends who’ve played in India. That’s where we first heard about the water! Besides digestive issues, they all had a wonderful time. I’ve a list of friends to suggest to Simply The Blues for future tours.
AT: Have you guys taken Lil Red and the Roosters across the world a lot? Which countries have you played, and which ones have been very memorable?
JM: Since 2013, when this project began, we’ve toured in the USA and France regularly. We’ve also played Scotland, which was certainly the most memorable. We played as part of a political rally and got to hear the fiery Scottish speeches. Last January, we competed in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. It was magical to be surrounded by so many wonderful Blues groups and fans.
AT: What is your setlist going to be like during the India tour? Which songs can fans expect?
JM: Our setlist includes originals and covers from a wide variety of Blues styles. You’ll hear Traditional Electric Blues, Jump, Boogie, Chicago, post-war Rhythm & Blues, Ragtime, Delta, New Orleans, and Texas. Our covers include Muddy Waters, Slim Harpo, JB Lenoir, Big Mama Thornton, Memphis Slim, Magic Sam, Nina Simone, Kenny Burrell, Joe McCoy, T-Bone Walker, Bonnie Raitt and we’ve even thrown in a little Peggy Lee for fun!
AT: To the uninitiated, what is a regular Lil Red and the Roosters show like?
JM: "Don’t let their contagious charm fool you, they play some serious blues!” Our shows may inspire you to get up and boogie. We combine serious quality music with a bit of humour. Pascal Fouquet and Thomas Troussier are exquisite soloists with decades of experience. I want to connect with the public and share in an experience of heart-warming blues.
AT: Who is part of the band for this tour?
JM: Pascal Fouquet and I are Lil’ Red & The Rooster. This is the foundation. We have lots of brilliant friends that we love to play with regularly including Thomas Troussier. For this tour we’re playing as a trio with Thomas Troussier on harmonica, Pascal Fouquet on guitar and I’m on vocals, washboard and snare drum.
AT: What do you hope to take away after playing not just one Indian city, but several ones?
JM: A belly full of delicious Indian food and memories to last a lifetime.
AT: Will you get time for sightseeing and relaxing a bit as well? What is your itinerary like?
JM: Absolutely not! (laughs) This will be a whirlwind tour. We have to get back for gigs immediately following our tour in India and then repack our bags for the US. We’d love to come back again when we have more time to explore your beautiful country.
Lil Red and the Roosters’ India tour details are available on Simply the Blues’ Facebook page. Simply the Blues is organised by Anil Mehta, founder of StarKonnect Events and Promotions.
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