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Black Blues Brothers - Edinburgh Fringe Interview

As part as our Edinburgh Fringe 2024 coverage we are running a series of interviews with artists and creatives that are taking part in the festival. 

In this interview we speak to Black Blues Brothers about their show.

Where did your arts career begin?
We are a group of five acrobats from Kenya. Since we were child, acrobatics fascinated us and we went to the beach to do exercises, together with kids older than us. In Kenya, acrobatics is like football in Europe.

When we discovered that there was a vocational school in Nairobi, we moved there. The school is called Sarakasi and is the most important social circus school in Africa. That's where we studied acrobatics and formed the group. Years later, we met producer Alexander Sunny who chose us to create a new show: The Black Blues Brothers.

What can you tell me about your show?
It's a unique show. It combines the Kenyan acrobatic tradition with rhythm'n'blues music and the imagery of the Blues Brothers. An hour of flips, tricks, firey limbo, human pyramids, hilarious gags and much more. In an elegant Cotton Club-style lounge bar, a cleaner is chasing his dream of becoming one of the Blues Brothers, when two characters, dressed in the iconic suits of John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, offer him a chance to make his dreams come true, helped by them and his two colleagues. Following the whims of an extravagant vintage radio, playing rhythm'n'blues music (including Gimme Some Lovin’, Sweet Home Chicago and Soul Man), the barman and the whole staff transform into performers doing balancing acts, waving flags, jumping and acrobatics with fire. Every object (chairs, table, hangers, vases and even mirrors) becomes a tool for breath-taking acrobatics and audience involvement.

How would you describe the style of the show?
The style starts from the acrobatic tradition of Kenya and develops following the rhythm of the film's soundtrack. Energy and group work belong to us, they are part of our way of understanding live performance. We have put this predisposition at the service of a show that wants to involve the audience by making them dance, have fun and be amazed.

Even though there are no live instruments, watching The Black Blues Brothers is like attending an amazing concert... where the musicians are doing stunts all the time!

How have you approached developing the piece?
The show was born from an idea of ​​producer Alexander Sunny, with whom we decided to present an innovative performance compared to the traditional Kenyan repertoire. 

While maintaining that acrobatic style, we moved away from the "ethnic" imagery and included somersaults, human pyramids, rope jumps, etc. within a story that echoes the atmosphere of the Blues Brothers film. The show is therefore also an acrobatic tribute to the cult film. A sequence of scenes built around memorable songs. We managed to merge these two aspects, acrobatics and the Blues Brothers, obtaining a result that drives the audience crazy.

How do/will you prepare yourself for a run at the Fringe?
First of all... keeping calm! The Fringe is a huge event and the pressure can be high, but this is the fourth time we've been back to Edinburgh and we know what to expect. Audiences have loved our show in past years and we can't wait to perform at the festival again. Once again we will give our best: we are training, while our staff is preparing all the details (marketing, accommodation, logistics) to ensure that everything is prepared down to the smallest detail.

Other than the show, what’s something you’re looking forward to doing in Edinburgh this year?
Doing a show a day is physically tiring, so we will definitely have to find a way to rest, even if by its nature the Fringe pushes you to see show after show, visit the other artists, explore the city which is wonderful. So we will do all this, but trying to balance it with the right moments of relaxation.

What keeps you inspired?
On stage we are happy. It sounds trivial, but it's really the most important thing. There isn't a day that goes by without us exercising, because it's what we like to do most. And seeing that the public understands this enthusiasm of ours and allows itself to be influenced by it is wonderful.

Furthermore, the magic of The Black Blues Brothers is that it somehow refers to our profound belonging. R&B music was invented by Afro-descendants in the United States of America and therefore, on an almost subconscious level, it speaks to our soul.

What do you hope an audience takes away from seeing the show?
We want the audience to leave with a huge smile on their faces. Children, adolescents, adults. Men and women. Everyone is invited to this collective ride of good humor and wild acrobatics. Our goal is to make everyone's jaws drop for an hour!

Where can audiences see the show?
The show runs every day from 1st to 25th August at 3.10pm at the Assembly Rooms Music Hall, 54 George Street. We are waiting for you!

Tickets for Black Blues Brothers are available from

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