Review: Cadijo – Café Populart, Madrid – 23 May 2007

Posted on: Wednesday, Jun 6, 2007

On my last work trip to Madrid I was lucky enough to catch a blues show in the city centre. My thanks to Grahame Rhodes for pointing me in the right direction. Cadijo is a French singer, harmonica player and band leader; he is based in Bordeaux, France, so I was doubly lucky to catch him while we were both away from home.

The band were performing for a week at Café Populart, they had recently played a festival in North Africa and had flown via Madrid so had arranged some work while passing through. I am afraid that I cannot remember the name of the festival they had played at despite the beautiful logo displayed on Cadijo’s t-shirt all night.

Everything starts (and finishes) late in Madrid, so my apologies straight away for not having the best recollection, by the time we arrived at the first set it was already well after 11pm and I had already eaten well and taken a few drinks before the show. My review, therefore, is more of a flavour of the evening than a proper review.

I was a little surprised to see the line-up of the band…

  • Cadijo – Vocals and harmonica
  • Fred PG – Guitar
  • Javier Garcia – Bass
  • Guillaume Destarac – Drums
  • (nothing unusual so far)
  • Norman Hogue – Trombone

I was immediately concerned – I really did not expect that a trombone in a guitar, harp, drums and bass band would work. I am pleased to admit that I was very wrong. Not only did Norman Hogue play the ‘bone extremely well, with excellent tone and phrasing – he also fitted into the band brilliantly. The band played a mixture of acoustic and electric numbers, covering all the bases from a ragtime feels through traditional Chicago blues on towards funk – occasionally with a splash of jazz thrown in. Even more pleasing were some of the self-penned songs by Cadijo performed in French. French is a great language, not only is it beautiful to listen to but amazingly very American musical forms blues and rap work brilliantly sung in French.

It would not be fair to single out any members of the band as they all played very well indeed. If you get the chance while travelling to see the band then they come recommended by I have asked Grahame to write a CD review as he is so much better at that sort of thing than I. CD review to follow.

Café Populart is also worth checking out if you happen to be in Madrid, it’s right in the centre of the city surrounded by bars and restaurants. They feature Jazz primarily but blues at times. I should have been back in Madrid this week but had to cancel my trip at short notice so unfortunately I will miss Big Dez (also from France). On my next trip at the end of June I have the opportunity to see Amar Sundy Blues Band. I’ll let you know…….

Spain 015

There are two YouTube clips on the band. Neither are mine, they seem to be posted by the guitarist Fred PG.

Interesting to see in the second clip that the Spanish crowd seem to have the same sense of rhythm and timekeeping as the average British crowd.


CK What

June 6th, 2007 at 23:04
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If I’m not mistaken, that looks very much like monsieur ‘Left Hand’ Fred on guitar, who was a regular on the London blues scene about ten years ago, played with Dana Gillespie (if you’ll excuse the double entendre) etc.