Papa Noel & Papi Oviedo

This is a natural and sparkling collaboration by two respected ambassadors of music, bearing the gifts of Congolese rumba and Cuban son. Bana Congo is a successful alliance of far-flung music forms celebrated as a homecoming of musical siblings long separated and as a reunion that shows the best of what can happen when music returns home.

Papa Noel brings his bright spiraling guitar work on the Congolese rumba together with the sweet steel strings of Cuban son maestro Papi Oviedo’s tres guitar. Together, they create a music that moves.

Africa and Cuba have always been connected musically, ever since the slave diaspora carried Congolese music and rhythms to the islands of the Caribbean. The pairing of Papa Noel and Papi Oviedo is similarly an essential mix of their respective music cultures. Their music is provocative but refined and elegant when honoring their roots, steering clear as its does of the coarser aspects of the moment, the popular elements (son‘s wild-child salsa and the “musique moderne” or “speed soukous” of Congolese rumba) that are widely exported and heard.

Bana Congo is dance music at its finest, too. Sparkling up-tempo rhythms, uplifting lyrics and soulful joy are the strong musical base expanded by a full-band line-up featuring a sunny blend of tight, bright horns. Marvelous singing and African choruses carry aloft the lyrics (in any one of three languages). This recording will mellow you and get you moving with the music. Hear just a bit, and you won’t want to let this pass you by.