Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Jazz Night

A couple of my Spanish friends said they had never heard live jazz before! Although I have spent hours listening to amazing jazz in the clubs of Cape Town, of course the heart and origin of the great genre resides in the United States, and is one I love to listen to. So they invited me along to a famous club in Madrid, and I was excited to join them for a night of live jazz!

The harmonica player was so drunk I thought he would fall over, but he was talented!

After some wine and pizza at their place, we headed to PopulArt. The cafe is located on Calle Huertas, an important street when it comes to both restaurants and night life. The stretch of road is in Barrio de las Letras, between Calle Atocha and Plaza Santa Ana, and is filled with cafes, tapas bars, restaurants, and two famous jazz clubs, Populart and Cafe Central. That area of the city is called Barrio de las letras because it was once home to many famous literary artists; it is the 'literary neighborhood of Madrid', where famous writers once worked and played. One prominent landmark is the home of Cervantes. Nowadays the barrio continues its fame through its many bars and restaurants.

The night actually turned out to be a rhythm and blues night, which for me is even better than jazz! The band was American and sang many blues classics. Hearing the music took me right back to the states, and I thought about how magically music can transform your mood, spirit and even transport you to a different place and time. For my Spanish friends, John Lee Hooker, B.B. King or Muddy Waters were unrecognized artists. It took me by surprise, for even an American who doesn't listen to much blues I think can recognize a classic when they hear one. It is ingrained into our culture, in our tv shows or movies, played in bars or restaurants. So it was over gin and tonics that we listened, danced along and discussed different songs and artists. I tried my hardest to explain what I knew about the blues and the south (including a 5 minute lesson on the correct pronunciation of cajun haha- it's not ca-hoon).

It was a really enjoyable night for me. The music brought with it a happy nostalgia for home, and it felt good to enjoy something outside the Spanish culture for a night. I must go again and bring Nacho!

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