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FEB 8 2005

[] Jimi Hocking wins first place at International Blues Challenge

Melbourne bluesman Jimi Hocking has won the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, Tennessee.

Hocking beat 42 solo and duo acts to win his division on Saturday 5 February.  There were 120 acts competing in total including the band division.

³It¹s an amazing feeling.  It hasn¹t sunk in yet that I¹ve won.  To be in Memphis playing with these great blues artists and to be recognised in such a way is truly awesome.  With such a high standard of music happening here, this has come as a surprise,² Hocking says.

The IBC is an annual competition held by The Blues Foundation to unearth outstanding independent blues musicians.  Affiliated blues societies around the world are eligible to send one act to compete.  Each act plays a 20 minute set in venues on Beale Street, Memphis, the home of the blues.   

Hocking had the crowd in raptures with his rendition of B.B. King¹s OThe Thrill Is Gone¹.  A performance inspired by T-Bone Walker - playing the guitar behind his head while doing the splits - secured his victory.  

Jimi was chosen to compete after winning the Blues Performer of the Year competition, held by the Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society (MBAS) in October last year.

MBAS President Sonia Meggs said the win was not only beneficial to Hocking¹s career, but for other Australian blues musicians. ³Jimi¹s success in Memphis is fantastic for Australia¹s blues scene. Jimi gigs regularly and most people know him, so when they look at his success it makes their  own dreams seem achievable,² she says.

Jimi has won $1,300, a Delta Blues SW260N acoustic guitar, an interview in prominent blues magazine BluesWax and an invitation to play at prestigious American blues festivals.

For media enquiries contact Romana Byrne at Black Market Music on (03) 9326 8886

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