The Jose Ramirez Band Returns to Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe

Arts & Culture

Pictured: The Jose Ramirez Band returns to WBTT’s stage on September 30. Photo by Sorcha Augustine

Ask Jose Ramirez, Latin America’s number one blues artist, what life is like on the road and this is what he’ll give you. “It’s crazy, it’s exciting, it’s hectic, it’s exhausting, it’s frustrating, it’s passionate, it’s a combination of everything. It makes me feel alive, both in positive and negative ways. We really, really just do this for the love of it,” says Ramirez. “Touring musicians are not becoming rich out here, especially in the blues and jazz genre. That’s not why we do it.”

They do it, because for musicians like Ramirez, it’s their dream. They do it because it’s all that they’ve ever wanted to do–even if it’s often an uphill battle. “People usually see the nice fancy parts of the shows–the green room photos or the photos on stage, but people don’t usually see all the driving involved and the sleepless nights and the eating poorly on the road or sometimes not at all because you have to leave at that instant to get to your next gig,” says Ramirez. “At the end of the day, I guess we do it because we love it.”

Costa Rica is not what one would call a “hotbed” of blues music. And yet, that’s where Ramirez hails from, where his dream of being a touring blues musician began. Spurned on by his father’s love of the blues, Ramirez worked at his craft until emigrating to the United States just under 10 years ago. Now 35, Ramirez has released two studio albums, including 2022’s “Major League Blues” under a contract with Chicago’s Delmark Records and has toured extensively around the country and Europe. Ramirez is currently in the midst of a “hybrid tour” of sorts–he spent this summer touring Europe before heading back stateside this fall, where on September 30, he will return to the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s Donnelly Theatre with The Jose Ramirez Band for the third time in three years. “It’s a great feeling every time we return to Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe. There’s always been great chemistry between my band and the people at the theater and the crowds,” says Ramirez. “Personally it feels like coming home, because I used to live in Tampa Bay and play locally in the area.”

The Donnelly Theatre, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Campus, 1012 N. Orange Ave, Sarasota, Box office: 941-366-1505.

Pictured: The Jose Ramirez Band returns to WBTT’s stage on September 30. Photo by Sorcha Augustine

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