Garito Café is already on its way! The foundations of the Club are already set: culture, art, music and design. It is an aesthetic strategy without raising too much scandal. Discreet, but it does not pass unobserved. It has class.
It is in the summer of 1998, when Garito starts serving its explosive cocktail of soul, funk, house and jazz. Fernando Cervino, Nacho Velazco and Pepe Link are in charge of the cabin and are capable of changing the bar’s classics look to a new sonorous style. Evenings usually begin with down tempo music and other soft sounds, which create a lounge atmosphere (a term that was not very popular yet). Nacho begins to record their sessions in CDs, selecting some stuff from Jazzanova, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Bobby Matos, Ninja Tune and other highlights of the nu-jazz style and would give them away to clients and friends. It is an innovative and unveiling start, which would keep growing at its own pace, until they played the quality house music from mythic labels: Guidance, Glasgow Underground, Nuphonic, Compost, MAW, Paper Recordings… and a huge part of the musical heritage that XL and La Boite left.
After ten months of having opened its doors, something unexpected happened at Garito. One of the neighbors would complain about the sound: the music can be heard, it filters through the walls and it transmits itself through the columns. A soundproofing process would begin in stages, which would help to avoid having to close the place. This would take place in three parts: while one was closed for renovation, the other two would be open as usual. In the middle of all this process, a new change also takes place: Cervino would stop being a member of the team and joins Uvete. Fernando would experiment a lot and some nights he would get lost in his own micro cosmos. Far from what were his best years, his creativity forks and it begins to lose its tune with Nacho. “He forgot about the producing part, his extravagancies were not seen well by all of the public. However, Cervino is unmatchable and he will always be a great influence and teacher of the plate’s art for me, thanks, in part for your incredible musical culture.” Nacho highlights that this was a crucial moment for Garito. “Clients were not accustomed to vanguard music. Some were still calling it ‘bakalao’ in a derogatory way and would even approach the cabin asking for Madonna or any other thing like that. I would answer them with a now classic: open up your ears.”
It was in the year of 1999, when Pepe Link would propose to have his own “author”, session once per month. This is how the “House of Jazz” would get started, which is the first official residence of the Ca’n Barbara club. “Toni Sorell designed a blue and black flyer for us, which was inspired in the esthetics of Blue Note and Pepe would really enjoy seeing his name in a very Coltrane style.” During these nights, Blaze, Kevin Yost, Glenn Underground and other sounds that resembled the old New Orleans style could be heard, adding great doses of garage to linkian mixes. “Evidently, the shrill blacks had remained there.” Daniel Klein, who had just arrived from performing in the iberic sunrises in Space, would join the team. “Daniel would add a touch of elegance with a soul house style.”The German DJ and producer would establish himself in Mallorca and begins collaborating very actively with Nacho.
With Uvete working as a frontman (public relations, technical aspects of the establishment, a session with plates every now and then, etc…) and the always charismatic contributions of Eva, the establishment begins to be mentioned by everyone in Palma, as it had before. “We decided to give our personal and professional levels an important boost. Even if he had not yet accomplished to get the public to look at our past, we already knew that we would take off. In other words, we would work hard like beasts to make this successful.”
The kitchen is an important component that we have to mention. “We would add a menu with cold plates, snacks, pa amb oli, sandwiches and a sirloin carpaccio that would rapidly become the star plate.” The kitchen rises as another service, following a very European concept for the establishment, which would transform progressively. People can come in and drink a coffee in the evening, while Chet Baker is playing or eat a sandwich listening to Lemonjelly and after midnight the lights get dimmer and the rhythm and volume of the music get louder, giving way to dance music.
The calm waters of the darsena and its privileged environment make the new terrace a very special site to talk, enjoy the bay and at the same time, let our creative side out. The first Sunday music sessions would begin with easy listening and lounge music. Hurchi and Uvete would numb the people assisting on Sundays with long sessions of ambient, dub and some Thievery Corporation or Nitin Sawhney electronic styles. This is how a chatting and relaxing environment takes place and it has remained like that for over a decade, which is now identity of the house. “Some cats from the zone, would even make this bar their home. It is a fact that Guija, the most sympathetic cat in the hood, literally lived at Garito. She would cuddle up in between the people, even during the weekends, when the music was at its loudest.” The music sessions for elevators and waiting rooms would come with projections from old movies, making it clear that art is lived and felt at Garito, even on the days when there is no work.
During this restful hedonism and a little bohemian conjuncture, the music critic and DJ Joan Vich Muntaner would appear and would propose the “Café Bizarre”sessions, a space where Burt Bacharach, Ennio Morricone and Serge Gainsbourg fit well with reggae, soul or boogaloo mixes, plus a huge part of “try music from El Corte Ingles.” Nacho remembers: “Joan would get his 7 inch vinyl album clear of dust and that was really a party.” Joan, already converted into Joao de Souza, would hit the bull’s eye and Sunday evenings would pass from being dead time to progressive time.
After 2000, the establishment would count with a better and more potent music team. “If the sound was good, we improved it.”With the soundproofing complete, the music could be louder and Garito would create compelling designs from ordinary facts. The Mallorcan artist and designer would scan this cat’s hair or his “ballerina”, takes some photos of his ice chest or of his sneakers and ads funny and spicy texts to the images. A flyer with his own mother in the beach (during the 60s), with the phrase “Perez told me”, is still in our memories. Expressions such as “I love you, me neither” or “Let’s dance house music” (literal traduction of an English friend of Sorell, who would propose to dance house music at Garito) would become famous right away and would encourage people to party or at least smile.
Internet is expanding and every club that believes in itself must have its digital presentation. Abraham Pazos, who was part of the Globalred team at the time, would design Garito’s first flash website – www.garitocafe.com – in which you could listen to DJ sessions that had been played at the club, watch some pictures and review the schedule.
2000 was very important to developing the new Garito. This year would bring an excellent harvest. Friday and Saturday nights begin to play the best house. A large number of local DJs would also enrich the sound proposals at the moment. Apart from the normal DJs (Nacho, Klein, Link, Salvador de Bahia and Uvete), Kiko Navarro, Dean Tyrell, David Martinez, Dusham, Chus Iglesias, Valentin de Moreda (an old friend from Valladolid) and Angel Garcia (who was part of The Room in Madrid), amongst others begin appearing in the cabin as well. “It was at the end of 99, when Angel would call me and invite me to play at his club, after having heard one of the CDs that was given to friends. When I walked down the stairs at The Room and when I saw all those people, I shitted myself!! The public really knew their music and they would catch all of the notes in every disc, in every mix.”
Nacho believes that Thursdays are the anteroom for having a good weekend. This also created a free style musical concept. He also begins to schedule sessions from some of his favorite labels Compost, Ubiquity, Stereo Delux…) as well as different types of sounds and styles (break & bossa, nu jazz, Latin rhythms, body & soul). There is also some room for hip hop and Don Manolo Pinchadiscos, from La Puta Opepe, who mixes every other night in the establishment.
The dance floor at Garito gains popularity and creates addiction. “A lot of people were joining in and almost had their spot reserved on the dance floor or the bar. Both clients and groups of friends were spontaneously baptized by the waiters: the manolos, la cuchipandi, ramiroquai, aviator, los Habana 5, los perla brothers… They even created a ranking list to give out an award to the best client of the year!
Everything is set to give the step towards the international scenery. It was during 2001, when the sponsorship of Johnnie Walker with is Black Label whisky, helped Nacho and Toni Sorell to create the “Balck Nights” concept. Plate magicians from Ca’n Barbara would present themselves, such as Soulcamp, Lofty, from the Chillyfunk lavel, Oli Lazarus (from Reel People), Glenn Gunner and Simon Lee (spokespeople for Nuphonic and Faze Action). In conclusion, it was European house, complemented with a few Americano artists, like Matty Heibronn and Neil Aline from Chez Music. It is then, when the idea to create a compact disc with the themes of the artists that have already played at the club takes place. Daniel Klein and Nacho would gather the themes and in the summer of 2001, the first CD called Black Nights at Garito Café was launched. It was edited by Flamingo Discos, which is a label from Mallorca and it was presented by Klein and Kiko Navarro. “I did not imagine that it would have such a great acceptance by the public, especially in all of Europe. Back then, people still bought CDs and the truth is that we sold a lot. But the best part was the great musical diversion that it gave us.” Bel Bestard would draw some images with a certain naïf style, which Toni Sorell would later use for the CD cover and pamphlet. “Our closest friends would collaborate in the craziest projects that we got ourselves involved in. Some Thrusdays, during the first projections, Toni Sorell would go out on a sonorous adventure and would transform himself in Tony: musical dresser. He did not mix well, but he would provide us with an entertaining selection of easy listening, jazz, bossa nova and other herbs that I would not know how to define.”
New styles in electronic music were being cooked in Europe and these included Latin sounds, without losing its focus on soul & jazz. A large group of new talents start appearing, whom are worthy of inviting over. In June of 2001, Nacho meets Rainer Truby (who is one of the most important people at the German label Compost) at Sonar, which is an advanced BCN music festival and they establish a friendship between each other, which grew over the years. “He is my good friend, my tito and the Spanish like Englishman that I know”. Both share wine and music and terrain pleasures to which they cannot renounce. Nacho would get the renowned DJ to visit the cabin at Farito and the German would return the invitation by taking him to the Rootdown session, which is the name of the night that Truby has been playing on for over twelve years in a club in Freiburg, which is the last Friday of every month.
The component of Truby Trio creates a clear influence on Velasco. The German artist would collaborate with Garito and would provide some of the contacts of the best relevant DJs at the moment (and future promises) that would soon begin to be seen at the establishment’s DJ booth. This is how artists like Richard Dorfmeister, Jazzanova or Ame would leave us antagonist sessions, which are now reference for all high quality dance music from the island. “The establishment is full and the people come to dance and have fun.” Music – as it seems to be in Garito – begins to have a certain type of repercussion in Mallorca. Some establishments follow on our footsteps and this causes the offer to diversify. Furthermore, an intellectual sector begins to think that smart music and sequenced rhythms are not concepts of antagonism. Overall, jazz had given the dance floor its dignity back. And Garito has started this big step.
Between all of this frenzy, music asks for a visual complement. To the international DJ sessions, some vi-DJs (video-jockeys) would be added. Jose Taltavull connects his brilliant G4 Powerbook to the projector in the room and adds a soiree creativity touch with his looping images. Later, other visual artists like Mitos Colom, amongst others, would also join the team.
Thursdays during 2002 acquire a special air at Garito. The “advanced” from Ciutat would get together and while they eat they were also talking and discover the different audiovisual proposals that Egg Community and Tres Serveis Culturals were telling them about at the moment. Nacho asks them to get involved in the project and to unleash their creativity. The guys would premiere and the “Proyectorama” concept would start. Short and long videos alternate each other, which allows work from young directors and students from C.E.F and MAISCA (Master of Art in Image Synthesis and Computer Animation) to present their work. Some documents like Sharks fin from Mallorcan Ruben Casas, would impact the documentary from the indiscriminate house in Oriental Asia. This would complement the projections under the “Proyectorama” section, Jose Talta;s powerbook would also play Chris Cunningham or Cinematic Orchestra’s video clips, as well as other experimental artists. Meanwhile, Tina and Brian from 3 Serveis, would start mobilizing the restless world of plastic art, creating a new themed night: “Garitolab”, which was a lab filled with creative ideas (photography, painting, illustration, fashion, installation, silkscreen) from young alternative and local artists. Every fifteen days and since September of 2002 until June of 2003, these sessions would be scheduled at Garito, in which works by Barbara Vidal, Sebastian Galo, Jose Miro, Trenta-tres, Bel Bestard, Rafel Adrover, Susana Muniz, Pepe Miralles, Laetita Bernejo, Marta Blasco, Xim Izquierdo, Jose M. Marquez, Julia Garcia, Xisco Bonnin, J.A Gavilan, Magdalena Ferragut, Ma Isabel Uribe, Dani Cardona and Elena Calvache would be presented.
In 2003, the cultural activity at Garito would continue with its growing rhythm. The list of international DJs playing at the club keeps growing: Pepe Bradoock, Llorca, Alexkid, Jazzanova, Markus Enochson, Nigel Hayes, teddy G, Madrid de los Austrias, Bugz in the Attic and many more would perform in memorable sessions, at the same time that Nacho Velasco would form the Garito Soul Project with Werner from Soulcamp. There were enough people to edit a second album, which would send the name of the club further than the Mediterranean. “In part, it is thanks to some of our discs that we are known in many countries. There are people who visit the island for the time on vacations and who had already heard about Garito… it is really wonderful.”
After five years, the work environment is excellent; our family is growing with complicity and fun. Eva continues training the staff to work at the bar. She manages and directs the group, while taking care of her recent maternity. “We turned ourselves into a waiter school. We do not ask for the typical professional background. We prefer that the people, who come to work here, keep their own image, attitude and personality, but at the same time, they have to do their job good.” Uvete is still doing several types of things for the club and begins to worry more about the people coming into the bar. “It is important to have a small filter at the door. We do not judge people on how they dress, or anything like that. We do not care about white socks, but the attitude of the person who is coming in. In general, the people who come here behave excellently.”
In summer, the outdoor terrace is expanded, as it takes over the asphalt of Can Barbara and gets closer to the sea. The staff also grows. People sit to eat something and enjoy the sea breeze. “The fact that the kitchen closes at 01:00, allows clients to come and have dinner a little later than usual, which is why food and drinks mixed in a dynamic and balanced way”. Waiters do their best and mojito cocktails become the favored drink. After midnight, people want to dance. The inner part of the establishment fills with people and the air conditioner is not enough. The waiters with trays must balance themselves amongst the crows. “In summer, Garito is the best.”