Words Annabel McLeod Pictured Sting
With its popularity with the likes of Drake, Snoop Dogg, Kanye West and 2Pac, who have all namedropped the premiere cognac brand neatly into their lyrics and the Hennessy Opera series, Hennessy's longstanding collaboration with Cognac's Blues Passions festival is yet another string in the company’s musical bow.
Our first day of festivities kicked off with Hennessy's Chase the Music. Own the Stage. champions NexCyx
, who performed an energetic set at the Eden Blues stage, including their winning competition entry On The Floor. The Bajan poppers have come a long way – and not just in air miles – from their university campus beginnings eight years ago. Frontwoman Mahalia hyped up the audience with some old-school crowd participation, while fellow bandmates Kris, Russell, Andre and Andre (yep, there are two) rocked the stage like it was twilight.
Pictured Russell (l) and Andre (r) of NexCyx
After a Hennessy tasting session with Olivier Paulates, one of the eight oenologists on the Tasting Commitee, the evening's festivities continued - and the night belonged to the Englishman with one name: Sting. The Brit rocker, sporting a tight white top, even tighter leather trousers and a visibly aged bass guitar, ripped through a set packed with classics including Englishman in New York, Every Breath You Take, Fields Of Gold, If I Ever Lose My Faith In You and Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic.
Michel Rolland - Cognac Blues Passion organiser
Blues he might not be, but as festival organiser Michel Rolland (pictured above) explains, "The Blues influences all music - pop, soul, R&B. All of the artists here have the spirit of the blues." We'll toast to that.
ARISE joined Sting, Tom Jones, Selah Sue and Imany in France for the 19th Cognac Blues Passions Festival 3-8 July, in association with Hennessy. ARISE is media partner of Hennessy's Chase the Music. Own the Stage.