Jimmy C's wife on how she is keeping 'his memory alive'

Jimmy C's Bluesdragons

Jimmy C's Bluesdragons. From the right: Dave Mitchell (keyboard), Sophia Haara (vocals), Paul Soper (bass), Dave Eastman (tenor sax), Mickey Parker (drums), Albie Green (tenor sax), Roger Cohen (guitar) - Credit: Aga Koletsis

Regular blues events, festivals and a commemorative tree are just some of the ways Aga Koletsis, wife of the late musician Jimmy Coletsis, is preserving her husband's legacy in the community. 

Jimmy, who died last May after a battle with cancer, was widely known for his band Jimmy C and the Bluesdragons. Over the years, he played with a ranging cast of bandmates and friends including Paul Soper, Antonio Campbell and Stevie Bray.

They were regulars at local venues such as the King’s Head and the Railway, while also finding success abroad, playing in countries including Germany, France and Russia. 

Aga Koletsis said her drive to ensure her late husband's music continued being played kicked in immediately following a tribute she’d organised for Jimmy in August last year. 

She said: “After the tribute, for me, it was quite sad because it was like okay, we did the funeral, we did the tribute, and now what?” 

It did not take long before Aga approached Jimmy’s old band to see if they would be interested in continuing to play some of his music.

Agreeing to do so, they went on to perform at gigs including Crouch End Festival, and are invited to play this year's esteemed blues festival in Broadstairs.  

Jimmy C and the Bluesdragons on stage

Jimmy C and the Bluesdragons on stage - Credit: Slawomir Cwiekala

Aga’s next step was to snag a weekly slot at the Harringay Arms for blues artists to play, something she sees as continuing Jimmy’s passion to bring the genre to the public.  

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Every Sunday the pub hosts an afternoon of live blues music, including one day a month when his old band also play a set. 

Aga said the team at the Harringay Arms has been “super supportive” of her endeavours to keep Jimmy’s music going. 

She said: “It’s a lovely combination because you can listen to live music of a really top quality because people are inviting really good musicians. They are normally playing with big bands on big stages, much bigger venues, but they are coming to Crouch End to play solo gigs. 

“I couldn’t find a better place to host Jimmy C’s blues band jam sessions.” 

Aga Koletsis putting up posters outside the Harringay Arms

Aga Koletsis putting up posters outside the Harringay Arms - Credit: Richard Lipman

Aga’s currently in the process of trying to organise a festival for later this year, at St Mary’s Tower in Hornsey, in which she is hoping to book seven blues bands to perform. As with everything else, it will be free to attend, though she said she is looking for sponsors and donations.  

She is also lining up the unveiling of a couple of memorials more permanent than a live show; a tree and a bench commemorating Jimmy at St Mary’s Tower. 

The tree is due to be planted on January 22, with the bench, which is awaiting final approval, hopefully to appear later this year. Both were funded by the public, via a JustGiving page, which Aga had set up for the tribute last year. 

Each will each be accompanied by a memorial plaque, on which will be a QR code. Upon scanning these codes on their phone, visitors will be taken to a YouTube video of Jimmy playing at the venue. 

On her determination to preserve the legacy of her late husband, Aga said: “The reason I’m doing it is because it was bad enough to lose a husband and father to my kids and my partner and friend for many years.

"I decided that losing his music is one step too far.” 

Giving back to the locals who supported her and Jimmy for many years is another major incentive, Aga saying that her focus “is always on the community”. 

She relayed how Jimmy used to tell her, “it’s better to be someone locally, than no-one internationally”. 

“We really became Crouch-Enders. Crouch End is my home, I would never move out from here. I may have to one day, but not by choice. I love Crouch End.” 

She adds: “I’m trying to keep his music, keep his original songs, keep his memory alive and at the same time create something for the community. [We’re] bringing the blues back to people for free, so they get good quality music in a local venue.”