Spanish Harps

A longish message here about the harmonica scene in Spain and some of the 
players I met there... 

 -- cp.

Blues Clubs in Madrid
In Madrid there are 2 clubs that strictly feature live blues, both 
with no cover charge: La Coquette,in the center of Madrid, 
featuring live local blues Mon through Thu, Oct. through July. 
The Cotton Blues Bar, in a neighborhood of Madrid accessible by 
Metro(subway), live local blues and some international bands on tour, Fri & 
Sat.  In addition 
there are other venues that regularly feature touring blues and jazz acts 
(Revolver, Cafe Populart, among others, both central Madrid).  (BTW, don't 
ask for a 
"night club" if you want to hear live music in Spain.  You'll end up in a 

There's probably about 5 or 6 local blues bands that feature harmonica 
and play with some regularly in Madrid.  North American and English music 
is very popular in Spain.  In fact I had a hard time learning about indigenous Spanish music because 
most of the people I met were more interested in N. American music!  (And 
this is a country with a very rich musical history, but maybe I just had 
bad luck...) 

Player Profile #1
Of the harmonica players in Madrid, the one that's been around the longest 
and probably because of this, the most influential, is Naco Goni (please put squiggles over the 2 "n"s 
in his name, my keyboard doesn't have the Spanish character "ene" ).  Naco 
has been playing professionally for a while (10+ years?) and I would guess 
was the first to pioneer/play blues harmonica in Madrid (maybe Spain). Blues 
music is a relatively new phenomena in Spain, as the country was very 
much closed and isolated only 20 years ago, due to the political 
situation.  Naco is a very good blues player.  He confines himself to just 
playing (diatonic) harmonica, using a Shure mic and leaves the vocal duties to his long time guitarist partner, 
Malcom.  He plays a very good blues harp.  It's always very impressive 
to me when someone so geographically and culturally removed from the 
birthplace of the blues can play like a badd boy from Chicago, 
Oakland, or Huntsville, Alabama.  It's interesting to note as well that 
Naco is one Spaniard who likes Spanish music, being a big fan of flamenco 
music.  We had a interesting between-set, in-the-alley, chat of the 
relationship of flamenco to blues.  He loves them both because of their 
emotional content.

Player Profile #2
The other very noteworthy player that I met is Jose Luis 
("Pepe") Naranjo.  Jose Luis is an excellent all round harmonica player.  
He has mastered the overblowing technique (via Howard Levy influences) and hence can read and 
play in any key on a single diatonic (well, maybe many people on this DL 
can do that too, but I sure can't... yet.)  He also plays jazz 
chromatic.  While I was there we located a dusty "baby" chord and old extended bass in a 
music store window in Madrid.  Pepe paid for them and after some digging 
we found a third player to make a harmonica trio.  We had fun trading 
harp parts, (Ok, I played a little more bass than chord, chromatic or 
diatonic, being the only one accustomed to the monster) playing informal 
gigs and sometimes sharing the stage with local bands.  Jose Luis wrote 
the arrangements.  After a while, the trio died a natural death (conflicts 
of schedules, interests) but it sure was fun while it lasted.  Jose Luis 
lived four years in Hamburg, Germany where he hung out 
with the 
local players.  He participated in a harmonica competition in Germany and 
a took a (first place?) prize for his performance with a flamenco trio (two 
guitars and diatonic harp!)  I have a tape of those tunes and it's 
great.  Jose Luis now lives in Caceres, in the province of Extramadura, a four hour drive to the east 
from Madrid on the road to Lisbon, Portugal.  So if you're ever in the 
neighborhood, ask around to see where he's playing (he was last seen playing with a Brazilian band...)

Player Profile #3
Someone I didn't meet and can't recall his name but he's the kid that appeared with Larry Adler in the Hohner Trossingen (Sp?) 
Festival Video.  He's rumored to live with his harmonica playing father 
(who's bringing him up right harmonicawise) on the Eastern coast of Spain, 
perhaps in the province of Alicante.  He's now old enough to go the clubs by 
himself as Naco reported seeing him play in Madrid.  According to Naco 
his blues playing is coming along quite well and only lacks a few years 
of hanging out in the blues clubs to develop that rich smokey tone and 
offset (compliment?) his strict technical (chromatic) training.  I 
haven't seen the video in a while, anyone remember his name?

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