Rafael F. Callejo, co-founder of Tam Tam Go!  and co-author of 'Espaldas mojadas' or 'Manuel Raquel'

Rafael F. Callejo, co-founder of Tam Tam Go! and co-author of ‘Espaldas mojadas’ or ‘Manuel Raquel’

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Last Tuesday night, at the Madrid funeral home, Nacho and Javier Campillo sang, a cappella, blackbird, of the Beatles. It was in honor of his former groupmate Rafa Fernández Callejo, with whom they started and founded in 1987 Tam Tam Go!, one of the most personal and relevant bands of Spanish pop in the late eighties and nineties. “It was a spontaneous act. The atmosphere was logically very serious and sad, with his wife and his relatives devastated by him, and my brother and I chose that song because it was the first one Rafa taught me. In fact, he was the one who taught me to play the guitar. It was a wonder”, Nacho Campillo, voice and leader of Tam Tam Go! Rafa F. Callejo (Badajoz, 1957) has died at the age of 65 in Madrid, where he lived, from complications with bilateral pneumonia. Rafa was the founder of the group with the brothers Campillo and Javier Ortiz and co-author of classics such as wet swords either Manuel Rachel. He left the band in 1993 after participating in the first four albums, the most appreciated by the fans.

Campillo remembers when he met Callejo: “It was in Badajoz, when I was a teenager. When I started I played the bass and Rafa taught me to play the guitar. He was one of a kind. He knew all the Beatles songs. He took them out with ease because he was so talented.” They formed several groups, one called Tramp, with which they did covers, with the Beatles as the main source. Those were the times of playing at festivals in towns in Extremadura, where the locals had the custom of throwing “the musicians into the pylon” at the end of the show. “You can’t see how cold it was in there,” says Campillo.

In 1987 they formed Tam Tam Go!, a different group within the barrage of Spanish pop-rock bands. Elegant, with a Latin touch, good instrumentalists, intelligent lyrics and a compact voice structure. They triumphed. They got on the train of the long summer tours, they played in Los 40 Principales, they lived to the fullest the good times of the music industry, when the effect of digital listening platforms was not intuited. Callejo was the most introverted, a notable instrumentalist who preferred to travel through his inner world rather than cultivate social relationships.

In 1993 and after years of exhausting tours and with the popularity of the band in decline, the group takes a break and Callejo decides to disassociate himself. “There was a lot of wear and tear and some discrepancies. Rafa wanted to sing and I already had an agreement to release a solo album”, says Campillo. The guitarist never returned to the band. He moved away from the front line of the musical world and dedicated himself to his Pharmacy studies. He was a high school teacher and later worked as a pharmacist.

“He played occasionally, although without a professional spirit. We met on occasion, but he hadn’t seen him for about ten years… until we found out about his death. It was a hard blow”, says the vocalist. Javier Campillo has written on his Facebook: “Dear Rafa, blessed is the time we spent together. Your hands were a gift from Tam Tam Go! own style full of personality. We are devastated… Rest in peace.”

Tam Tam Go! They are still active with the Campillo brothers at the helm. This 2022 they have released the album After 30 and tomorrow, Friday, August 19, they perform in Colmenar Viejo, Madrid. There, they announce, they will remember their partner. They will play in his honor blackbird, the song with which he began his story.

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