Carabanchel is full of melancholic rhythms typical of blues, since here is the Madrid Blues School. This institution was initially only a project that brought together a group of talented experienced musicians, but today it has established itself as a learning space and cradle of great emerging talents.
The essence of blues is present in many musical genres, so although you are not a great connoisseur of the subject, you have indirectly enjoyed the legacy of this legendary genre applied to rock, soul, jazz, pop, country music, among others . In this sense, it is not only about the metric present in each lyric, but also the harmony created by means of musical instruments such as the guitar, drums, the keyboard and, of course, an iconic wind – metal instrument that cannot be missing. in blues performances: the harmonica.
Perhaps it is a genre little known to some, but one that definitely manages to evolve from time to time and the Madrid School of Blues has been in charge of spreading the teaching of the genre.
How did the Madrid Blues School come about?
Argentine José Luis Pardo, along with other experienced musicians, decided to share his passion for melancholic notes and rhythms that only blues can provide. For this reason, in 2011 they gave life to an ambitious musical project, whose objective was to transmit their knowledge about this legendary and influential genre, to create new generations of bluesmen. It was also a good way to spread these rhythms among the new generations.
Initially, they gave their classes at the Musical Observatory in Madrid, while Pardo’s home served as a meeting point for the reception of students. However, three years later, in 2014, they decided to move to a much larger plaza with an infrastructure of 220 square meters. Thus, they would have rehearsal rooms, classrooms to teach classes, studios to make recordings and even a small auditorium for students to do their live shows with total freedom.
Courses taught at the Madrid Blues School
Pardo, along with the 12 teachers who make life at the school, teaches a series of regular, intensive courses and more recently they have started teaching online classes.
By opting for the regular classes, the student will be able to select between the comprehensive courses The Muddy Thing, Blues Master, Lighting Thing, Little Water, The Juke joint, Ma Rainey thing, as well as individual or group classes for the execution of an instrument . In addition, the blues history, music production, harmony, and musical language assignments are incorporated.
Among the variety of courses scheduled for regular classes, a space is also dedicated to the youngest of the house, with percussion workshops, gospel, Big Band for amateurs and recording sessions.
The intensive classes are scheduled annually two to three times. The intensive lasts three days, during which the student will learn theoretical and practical aspects, will participate in the well-known jam sessions and, on the closing day, will be part of a small intimate concert to be held in the school auditorium .
These online classes are aimed at people who do not have enough time to attend a physical classroom, being more practical to carry out the learning process from the comfort of their home. The courses are taught through the Moodle and Skype platforms, receiving their respective certification after the completion of the academic hours and the approval of the exams.
About its founder
José Luis Pardo is a self-taught musician born in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, who at an early age discovered his vocation in the world of music. However, it is until the age of eleven that Pardo officially begins musical studies.
During his adolescence, he began to perform in renowned bars in the city, without imagining that years later he would climb onto international stages with blues greats such as Billy Branch, John Primer, Ray Killer Allison, among others.
In addition, he developed a project entitled ´José Luis Pardo & The Mojo Workers´, making up a total of four CDs and a DVD with the presentations of his tours. Some time later, in 2008, Pardo settled in Spain and gave life to a second blues project. This is a quintet called “The Roomful of Swing”, with which he was accompanying some American artists on their tours of South America and Europe.
After this period, the idea arose to create the now known Madrid Blues School in Carabanchel, where he fulfilled the role of founder, director and teacher.
The blues does not die in the streets of Madrid
Blues is undoubtedly a genre with a great influence on rock and roll, heavy metal, jazz, soul, folklore, among many others. His improvised lyrics and rhythmic turns give way to tunes that manage to shake the soul of his followers, transmitting the characteristic melancholy and nuances that are generally provided by the best blues harmonica .
Throughout its history, the blues has had ascents and descents, always managing to reinvent itself and stay current in the musical arena. As is known, his great rival is jazz, since with him he shares many rhythmic similarities, both genres coming to complement each other. In this sense, it is not surprising to find bars or night establishments with an open platform for both exhibitors. For example, in the city of Madrid, although it is a fact that the blues does not enjoy massive support, it is also true that this genre has not died. There are several spaces where you can go to relax every night, moving your feet to the beat of these improvised and legendary rhythms with African roots.
In this way, you can attend the Sala Clamores, El 14, Berlin Café, La Coquette and El Junco, which are places that constantly offer blues presentations. In fact, the four jam sessions held by the Madrid Blues School are held in these rooms.