Café Quijano is formed by the three brothers Manuel, Oscar and Raul Quijano. These three musicians hail from the city of Leon in the north west of Spain where they run a live-music venue called “La Lola” with their father, who is also a musician. It was in “La Lola” that the brothers had their first singing experiences in front of a live audience. “La Lola” gave its name to one of their best known songs.
In 1996 they recorded a demo and organised what was to be their debut before a large audience in the Teatro Emperador in Leon. As a result the brothers caught the attention of Warner Music, with whom they signed their first recording contract.
In the first part of their venture they released four CDs with great success. They also presented galas and worked with renowned artists such as Ricardo Franco, Armando Manzanero, Humberto Gatica, Kenny O'Brien, David Foster, Raphael, Joaquín Sabina and Céline Dion among others. Alongside their music, they also entered the world of film, taking part in the Spanish film Torrente 2: Misión en Marbella (Torrente 2: Mission in Marbella), and worked on soundtracks such as in the Spanish version of the Disney film Lilo & Stitch, and numerous appearances and cameos on television.
One part of their other activities, which is still a constant source of pride, is their work as Ambassadors of their homeland, Leon, in which they promoted regional tourism in the area all around the globe.
Café Quijano: Self-titled (1998)
Their first Project with Warner Music in 1998 was the launch of their album Café Quijano, which involved screenwriter and film director Ricardo Franco in the song “Loco de amor” (Crazy with Love”). This was followed up with a tour of over fifty concerts all over Spain, which brought Café Quijano quickly to high levels of popularity.
La extraordinaria paradoja del Sonido Quijano (The Extraordinary Paradox of the Quijano Sound) (1999)
In 1999 their second album La extraordinaria paradoja del Sonido Quijano was launched and was an even greater success. Café Quijano had become an international reference of Spanish music. Their first single from the album, “La Lola”, made number one on radio stations in more than thirty countries.
La extraordinaria paradoja del Sonido Quijano, which included the collaboration of musician and producer Lulo Pérez and also the composer and music arranger Juan Carlos Calderón, made double platinum in Spain and the Top Ten on the AFYVE sales list (Asociación Fonográfica y Videográfica de España).
In the two years following the launch of La extraordinaria paradoja del Sonido Quijano the brothers went on tour with a much more elaborate structure behind them and numerous other appearances, collaborations and acknowledgements, among which were two nominations for Best New Group at the Latin Grammy Awards and Best New Alternative Rock Album at the Grammy Academy Awards. Café Quijano became the first Spanish group to receive a nomination for a Grammy up to the Awards’ forty-third celebration. For the Quijano brothers this became a time for making great memories including their work on the Armando Manzanero album Duetos with the song “Esperaré” (“I will wait”), the inclusion of their song “Así se va” in the soundtrack of the film “Por la libre”, the use of their single “De sol a sol” (“From sun to sun” in the music of the television programme “Abierto 24 Horas”, and, their participation in the Santiago Segura film Torrente 2: Misión en Marbella where they not only worked alongside the actress-model Ines Sastre but also played their song “En mis besos” (“In my kisses”).
La taberna del Buda (2001)
2001 became the year of La taberna del Buda. This album has already sold over one million copies. It was produced by Humberto Gatica, co-produced by Kenny O'Brien and recorded in Los Angeles. It all came together with the collaboration of a list of renowned artists that stand tribute to just how far the Café Quijano brothers had come at this point. On the album you’ll find David Foster himself on piano, as well as musicians like Michael Landau, Abraham Laboriel, Vinnie Colautta and Jerry Hey.
The spectacular La Taberna del Buda tour followed in 2002, and through it the group achieved the record for the most live performances by Spanish artists in a single tour with over two hundred concerts and more than one million spectators. This consolidated the brothers as one of Spain’s most important groups with such an extensive international reach. They received the Premio de la Academia de la Música (Music Academy Award) for the Best Tour and the Premio Ondas (Ondas Award). In 2001 they also participated in Disney’s Lilo & Stitch with “Ardiente Amor”, a version of Elvis Presley’s “Burning Love”.
¡Qué grande es esto del amor! (2003)
¡Qué grande es esto del amor! (2003) was the group’s next studio Project and it included luxury collaborations from artists like Celine Dion in “Nadie lo entiende” (“No one understands it”) and Joaquin Sabina in “No tienes corazón” (“You have no heart”).
In 2004 they took part in the Tribute honouring Carlos Santana, who had been named Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year. In the Tribute they played alongside Black Eyed Peas, Fher, from the group Maná; La Ley, Dave Matthews, Ozomatli, Robi Rosa, Rob Thomas and Julieta Venegas. They were also nominated for the Latin Grammy for ¡Qué grande es esto del amor! and at this time they composed the song “Sírvame una copita” (“Serve me up a little cup”) for the Spanish squad in the 2004 European Cup. They closed 2004 with extensive national and international tours.
Grandes éxitos (Greatest Hits) and new projects (2004-2009)
After years of tireless work and once the tour of their latest album had concluded, the Quijano brothers decided to take on new challenges in solo. Manuel set up his own recording label, Rebel Records, through which he launched his two solo albums Vidas y Venidas (Lives and Froes) and Santa Monica Boulevard in 2007 and 2008 respectively. He also dabbled in the world of car racing and photography.
Oscar took part in the soundtrack and cast in the soap opera Romeo y Julieta (Romeo and Juliette). He also composed various songs for other artists as well as the Official Anthem for Spain’s Professional Football League in 2008.
As for Raul, in 2009 he launched his first solo album Trozos of Love and began a promotional tour which took him to different parts of Spain throughout 2010.
In 2008 Warner Music launched Grandes éxitos (Greatest Hits) which, even without any kind of promotional work, made very high sales.
Return to activity (2010-2011)
In November, 2010 a press release was sent out announcing the group’s return for the Guadalajara, Mexico International Book Fair (IBF) (Feria Internacional del Libro (FIL) en Guadalajara, México). The only motive behind the comeback is none other than representing their Comunidad (Autonomous region), Castile and Leon, at one of the most important Spanish-speaking international cultural events. Once more the Café Quijano trio embarked internationally as Ambassadors for their homeland celebrating it under the mottoes “Castile and Leon is Life” and “Castile and Leon: Birthplace of the Spanish Language”.
On 27th November, as part of the IBF programme, Café Quijano offered a press conference at which the press representatives broached the subject of a rumour that was going around about a full comeback of the group. The brothers stated that they had not further plans at that point in time beyond their work at the IBF. However, they did not close the doors to a future comeback because while they were perfectly happy in their fraternal relationships, sharing their work as musicians was a matter of greater pride. They were very close to deciding that their greater happiness would go hand in hand with their working together in their music.
On the 28th November, ten years after their first visit to Guadalajara, they played their greatest hits to a full-house of over five thousand fans at the Esplanade of the IBF.
Finally, on 9th March, 2011, they announced their comeback to the stage and that they were preparing a tour around Spain and Latin America although at the time they had no plans to launch a new album.
Orígenes: La Trilogia (Origins: The Trilogy) (2012-to the present)
After eight years of work on their solo careers and a two-year gestation period, on 30th October, 2012 Café Quijano launched their fifth studio album Orígenes: El Bolero (Origins: The Bolero) which, in a matter of hours, became the best –selling album on iTunes, Spain.
As its name indicates, Orígenes: El Bolero completely moves away from their most recent works. We can now see the Café Quijano brothers come back to their roots: the music that they have listened to from their childhood and in their own home under the influence, as they have always pointed out, of their parents.
For all these reasons they decided to do the recording in Leon and set up a studio at home. It this family environment, surrounded by friends and team members such as the great producer, arranger, and winner of numerous Grammies Kenny O’Brien, with whom they not only shared a great friendship but had also previously worked together on projects such as La taberna del Buda. The collaboration of one of the biggest international names in the world of the Bolero, Armando Manzanero, put the finishing touch to the album with “Quiero que mi boca se desnude”.
Orígenes: El Bolero contained eleven recordings. The internet version included the bonus track, “Y mientras tanto” (In the meantime”).The Quijanos have infused these new songs with a sound that is reminiscent of the traditional, bringing to mind both the earlier Cuban son and the classic boleros by Los Panchos while, at the same time, they are modern pieces that bear the distinctive stamp of the Quijano Sound. By December 2012, not even a month since its release, Orígenes: El Bolero had made Golden Disc. Four months later it made Platinum and was still in the Spanish Top Ten albums list.
On 18th January, 2013, Café Quijano began a new tour to present the album live. In the first stage of the tour they celebrated over one hundred concerts all over Spain in what was to be known as Orígenes: El Bolero TOUR. On this occasion the setting was more intimate and acoustic. The stages chosen were in theatres and auditoriums which lent themselves better to the Bolero genre and brought the brothers into closer contact with their fans. Later, between April and November 2013 Orígenes: El bolero TOUR set off to Latin America and the USA and to sold-out shows in almost every venue.
On 25th November, 2013 Orígenes: El Bolero Vol.2. was launched. Again it made Platinum and saw Café Quijano back on the road on a tour that was as successful as its predecessor. The album earned them their fourth nomination at the XV Edition of the Latin Grammy Awards. During the ceremony they shared the stage with such international acts as Ricky Martin, PitBull and Carlos Santana.
On 2nd December, 2014, Café Quijano launched Orígenes El Bolero Vol.3, and thus closing a trilogy dedicated to the Bolero. The album is to be presented to audiences in the USA and all the Latin American markets very soon.