Calacas Blues is a Latin American contemporary urban blues band. Its blues based sound incorporates freely other influences such as traditional Latin American music, jazz and contemporary music. The lyrics go from contemporary urban landscapes to texts from important Latin American authors. Bajo la piel (Beneath the skin), the band’s first album, contains original material, songs by our Mexican friend José Cruz Camargo, and adaptations of traditional blues tunes with spanish lyrics and arrangements that create a new context for the original material. With the second album, Blusificción (Bluesifiction), this identity is further developed. The third album, Otra suerte de azul (Another kind of blue), contains an instrumental suite. And the latest album, 115B, is also predominantly instrumental material.

Calacas Blues was formed in 1997. The members have changed over the years. The only surviving founding member is Alejandro Cardona (guitarist, composer, arranger and, when necessary, singer). In 2006 the drummer Emiliano Cardona became a permanent member and in 2011 bassist Carlos “Calilo” Pardo joined the band. Their collective experience goes from classical music to traditional Latin American music, Trova, jazz and rock. Hammond player José “Chepe” González has been a permanent collaborator in live presentations and recordings. Rocío Moreira and María Cardona have participated as singers over the years.

Musicians

The base group of Calacas Blues is a trio (electric guitar, bass guitar and drums). According to the musical projects being developed, other musicians are incorporated.

Alejandro Cardona

Composer and guitarist, he has worked both in the contemporary classical music and popular music worlds. His concert music has been performed and recorded in Latin America, North America and Europe. He has been a university professor since 1986, teaching theory and composition. In Costa Rica he has been awarded the National Prize in music composition on four occasions, and his multimedia and audiovisual work has been recognised and screened in festivals both in Latin America and Europe.

During his time living in Mexico, he played with singer Betsy Pecanins (he played guitar on her album “Betsy Pecanins Canta Blues”), and was a founding member of Real de Catorce, one of the most important and original blues groups from this country. His Mexican experience included a tour with blues violinist Papa John Creach and a participation in the Mexico City Blues Festival where he shared the stage with musicians such as Taj Majal.

In Costa Rica he was part of the group Guadalupe Urbina y Esta Cuestión.

He worked as arranger and guitarist on Betsy Pecanins’ albums “Blues en el alma” and “Sones” (his arrangement of the well known Son “La Bruja”, from this second CD, can be heard on Youtube). He has also adapted material from Calacas Blues for classcial ensembles: “Echú”, “Telegramas” and “Profecía” can be heard on cellist Álvaro Bitrán’s album “Mi Chelada”, and “Echú” has been arranged for numerous groups: six cellos, string quartet, cello and strings and percussion ensemble.

Emiliano Cardona

Calacas Blues’ drummer since 2006, this young musician studied with Carlos Sanders at the Academia de Música Moderna in San José, Costa Rica. He participated in the last three recorded studio albums, where his solid and stark drumming stands out as it holds together the rest of the band.

Carlos “Calilo” Pardo

One of the emblematic bassists from Costa Rica. He has played and continues to play with numerous projects of various orientations: classic rock, progressive rock, fusion, blues, jazz and Latin American song… He has been a member of bands such as Café con Leche, Igni Ferroque, José Capmany, Time’s Forgotten, Autómata and Mustang 65. He is one of the founders and a partner of the Academia de Música Moderna in San José.

Other musicians

Calacas Blues has had the good luck of being able to work with a large array of talented musicians over the years. From 2007 to 2011 singer María Cardona and Hammond player José “Chepe” González were regular collaborators (both appear on the album Blusificción, and “Chepe” played on all the pieces of the album Otra Suerte de Azul).

We would like to acknowledge many other musicians who have been part of our history and that, in one way or another, always are with us every time we play: Gerardo Mora (drummer and founding member), Douglas Gallagher RIP (singer and founding member), Danny Morales (bassist and founding member), Ricardo Molina (bassist), Randolph Jiménez (bassist) y Rocío Moreira (singer who participated in the first album, Bajo la piel).

Some of our more sporadic collaborators have been: Túpac Amaru Ulloa (flute and sax virtuoso who played on the album 115B), Robert Aguilar (singer), Manuel Obregón (keyboard), Daniela Rodríguez (singer), Bernardo Quesada (singer, sound engineer and coproducer of the album Bajo la Piel), Pato Barraza (one of the singers on the album Bajo la Piel), Marvin Araya (clarinet player on the album Bajo la Piel), Iván Rodríguez (violinist on the album Bajo la Piel), and Franco Torterolo (bassist, sound engineer and coproducer of all the Calacas Blues albums).