Raul Midón is in the category of musicians who come up with a unique way of composing and playing their instrument, artists who basically created their own genre. There are not many of those on this planet.
In 2005, something happened. ‘State of Mind’ was released, Raul Midón’s third studio album, but the first one which got a lot of attention, including outside the United States of America. When he played the title track, his audiences looked at him in awe and disbelief.
Beautiful and Soulful
Midón, a genius guitarist and vocalist from New Mexico, introduced guitar-slapping to the world. The way he used his instrument as three instruments, namely a guitar, a bass guitar and a drum, impressed and mesmerized his growing fan base. On top of it all, his songs were, and still are, just as beautiful as they were soulful.
Since, Raul Midón has performed as a one-man band and with his group. He has recorded five more studio albums and a second live record. Also he was nominated for Grammys twice. In one case this was about his 2017 album ‘Bad Ass and Blind’, both of which he actually is. He got the other Grammy nomination for the 2018 album ‘If You Really Want’ which included the Metropole Orchestra from the Netherlands.
He obviously does not need bands, because he is one when he hits the stage on his own. But he seems to like having fellow musicians around him. Maybe he wants some of his gigs to include stronger beats, or he might like being accompanied at times.
‘Bad Ass and Blind’
In the early days of his career, he worked with artists like Shakira, Alejandro Sanz, Julio Iglesias and Jose Feliciano as a backing vocalist. Yes, they are all artists of Latin American descent. They chose him because he is brilliant, and because he sings in both English and Spanish without the slightest accent. His father was Argentinian, his mother African American.
As newborns, Raul Midón and his twin brother were put into an incubator in a rural hospital. Since they did not have the eye protection they needed, they turned blind. During a recent gig, Midón said his album title ‘Bad Ass and Blind’ was some kind of a “coming out”, because people had hardly ever asked him about his blindness until then.
His handicap does not stop him from doing anything. At his home in the U.S. he had a recording studio built. It contains technology which enables blind people to do recordings without help.
Message Songs Galore
A tune called ‘Mi Amigo Cubano’ is among the most beautiful tunes Raul Midón has recorded. He wrote the piece with the Soul legend Bill Withers and translated it to Spanish, which was Withers’ idea. The outcome is phenomenal. At the same time, calling any of Midón’s tunes “one of the most beautiful” is counterproductive because they all are.
And most of them are message songs, meaning Raul Midón is not the kind of artists who would sing what everyone else sings, but a true singer/songwriter. “Gotta give a lot of love before my time runs out” is the chorus of ‘Gotta Gotta Give’, another brilliant tune of his. ‘Sunshine I can Fly’ is a fascinating example of the material he recorded with the Metropole Orchestra. His tunes with Bossa Nova influence are breathtaking too.
Oh yes, there is more good news: None other than Raul Midón is coming to Europe, for a tour which will take him to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Portugal and the United Kingdom. ¡Bienvenido! The cities he will perform in include one called Berlin, which is where this publication is based.
London, Vienna, Berlin and More
The European tour will start on November 15th, 2019. After three gigs in London, at the London Jazz Festival and the ‘PizzaExpress’ venue, Midón will hit France. La Roche-Sur-Yon, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, La Garde and Villeurbanne are listed on the tour plan.
Portugal is next. From December 3rd, he will do gigs in Lisbon and Porto, before heading to Germany. On December 5th, Raul Midón will be performing at the Domicil club in Dortmund, on the 6th at Franz Mehlhose in Erfurt. On December 8th, he will hit a stage in Amsterdam, before doing the Kirche Neumünster in Zurich on the 11th.
There is a lot more. The next gig will be happening at the Atlantis in Basel on December 12th. On the 13th, he will conquer a stage in Stuttgart and on the 14th in Westhofen. The Papagena is next, in Straubing, on December 15th. On December 17th, it will be the ‘Porgy & Bess’ in Vienna.
Then, on December 18th, Raul Midón will invade a ‘Real Music’ haven in The Berlin Spectator’s vicinity. It is the Quasimodo in Berlin. On the 20th, it’s the Leverkusen’s turn, where the Scala is ready for Raul Midón. Afterwards, he will return to the United States and Canada.