José Padilla (Barcelona 1955 - 2020)

José Padilla (Barcelona 1955 – 2020) A DJ who didn’t just define a generation but single-handedly an entire genre of music that rippled around the world to every beach, countless sunsets and into the hearts of millions of people with his brand of esoteric lounge, chill-out, ambient, melodic and world music. From DJing to the rhythm of the sunset in San Antonio, Ibiza at the Cafe del Mar, to traveling the globe with his unique style.

For many José was a Salvador Dali, Picasso or a Leonardo da Vinci of music with melancholy ears reflecting the vibrations deep in his heart. Put simply, José pulled the world to a tiny little Cafe on a small island to hear him play and turned it into a destination, for some a bucket-list wish, to sit and watch the sunset with the maestro behind the turntables, orchestrating the lowering sun on the Mediterranean horizon.

From handing out cassettes, recorded live at the Cafe del Mar decks, to signing a UK compilation album deal with Thomas & James at React Music, then Mercury Records for the world with myself at Manifesto, the tapes went from being personally handed out to friends, to double-pack vinyl albums and CD’s which sold in their millions around the globe, whilst staying musically evergreen as the years rolled by. Jose’s selection was the beach and the years were the waves, the beach was always the constant.


You can play a José compiled Cafe del Mar CD or cassette from 25 years ago and it still transports you away to a beautiful place today. As I’ve traveled the world so many people, of all ages, have shared how much they loved the music José chose for the CD series. A true testament to his art and the musical tapestry introduced into the hearts and souls of millions of music fans.


Jose’s work changed my life, left an indelible imprint of music I love to this day. Myself plus countless DJs, artists, producers and most importantly so many people around the world from Bondi, to Bali, to Bangkok, Budapest, Rio, Dubai, Cape Town, Berlin, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Fuji, and and and, were deeply moved by his taste in music. Just imagine creating those tsunami waves of music.


There will never be another DJ journey like José Padilla’s, ever. His ‘Cafe del Mar’ sound will live on until the sun no longer sets on the horizon. My father was buried to “Adios Ayer” and 12 hours later in London my daughter, Olivia, was born to the soundtrack of CDM Cuatro in the delivery room. Thank you for all the inspiration amigo.


Adios José Padilla, fear not your journey, the angels will welcome you into their realm and celebrate you as we will too, eternally.

To Top