Sea and Sun: Band on the Horizon

"Moody, rural, dirty and crude" are the words used by the musicians to describe their sound. They are Sea and Sun, quite possibly one of the only genuine blues bands in Chile.

Photo by Joanna Rozniak
Photo by Joanna Rozniak

Composed of Bernie ”Bad Guy” Weis (vocals and guitar), Dusan Braddnovich (vocals and harmonica), Vigue de Luca (bass), Adrian Leyton (lead guitar) and Ata Weis (drums and lap steel), this Mississippi-inspired blues band transports you to the hippest and most happening blues joints in Mississippi or Louisiana.

Photo by Joanna Rozniak
Photo by Joanna Rozniak

The man with the biggest story to tell is Bernie Weis. Up on stage, the blues man settled into his seat during a recent performance at the Sala SCD in Plaza Vespucio, snug in his slippers, flared denim jeans, navy blue t-shirt and denim jacket.

His sound harks back to his years spent in Louisiana playing Cajun and juke-joint country blues and these styles remain a heavy influence on the band today. They are "the sounds of home," as Bernie remarked to start off their set. For Bernie, "blues music is a way of life" and "a type of therapy." It seems that you can take the bluesman out of Louisiana, but you can’t take Louisiana out of the bluesman.

The other four members of the band, all Chileans including Bernie’s son, Ata, could equally be mistaken for also having spent their formative years in Louisiana due to the smooth, deep bluesy sounds that exude from the instruments at their fingertips and lips.

"We are all independent musicians," notes bass player Vigue, "but within the group there are special connections.

Photo by Joanna Rozniak
Photo by Joanna Rozniak

We don’t know why they exist, but they do."

Sea and Sun exists to create a sound like no other in Chile right now, a sound that grows and changes as they see fit.

"We never practice. Our practice is here (at the gig), we have our practice on stage," says Bernie. This is the magic of the band and the magic of every gig; their music is unique and the band follows no rules.

"We make lots of errors. Our music is simple rather than complicated; too many notes and too much information kills the music," says Vigue.

The name "Sea and Sun" was coined in 2001, a few years after Bernie Weis joined the band in 1999. A series of gigs and collaborations with other bands have brought them to where they are now. Their debut album, Blues and Zarico, bursts at the seams with a mix of covers and originals.

Photo by Joanna Rozniak
Photo by Joanna Rozniak

Their set this night opened up with a foot-tapping, finger-snapping number called, "Take Me Back." A firm drum beat by Ata Wies provided the platform for Dusan to let rip the harmonica, creating incredibly rich tones that enveloped the music.

Adrian on lead guitar brought the deep bluesy sounds that everyone was waiting for and Vigue on bass strummed each note as a landmark sound, providing the backbone to the music. All the while, the don, the master, Mr. Bernie Weis tapped his skippered foot, strummed his stuffed animal-clad Gibson guitar and brought out every ounce of bluesy soul to produce a dirty, moody voice that resonated throughout the venue.

The set weaved and swerved through melodic sounds, French lyrics, ‘woops’, ‘hell yeahs’ and a kazoo, demonstrating the diversity of a sound underappreciated in Chile. Songs such as "Down in Mississippi,"

Photo by Joanna Rozniak
Photo by Joanna Rozniak

"Betty" and "Emily" had you bopping in your seat and spruced up the remarkable set by this group of musicians spanning four decades between them.

The band maintains that “there is no blues scene in Chile.” However, according to Vigue, there is an interest that perhaps has to be exploited because “Chileans do like blues music.”

To witness Sea and Sun in action is something special and unique. The beauty of the band lies in their ability to create sounds that have never been shaped in the same way before and will never be again. For that, skip the metro and instead just hop onboard the blues train of Sea and Sun and follow them to new horizons.

Sea and Sun
Bernie Weis: Voice and guitar
Dusan Bradanovich: Harmonica and voice
Adrian Leyton: Lead guitar
Vigue De Lucca: Base guitar
Ata Weis: Drums and lapsteel

Where to buy the CD:

Disquería Triangle
Paseo Las Palmas, local 22-B
Metro: Bellavista de la Florida. Linea 5
Price: CP$7,000

From the Sea and Sun website:
Price: CP$4,500

At Sea and Sun gigs
Price: CP$5,000

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