Bana Congo

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Tumi Music
PERFORMER: Papa Noel, Papi Oviedo, and band
CATALOGUE NO: TUMI 107

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 Musical traffic has gone back and forth for decades between Africa and Cuba, and it links up the plucked-string veterans PAPA NOEL and PAPI OVIEDO on uncommonly equal terms. Not everything is as Congolese as the riffs and chopped-up choruses of the first number, but the music-making is well worked out and thought-through.

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With eight lead singers the timbre changes constantly; what doesn’t is the precision and spacious flair of the big-band playing, driven forward by the interplay of the guitar and its Cuban relative, the tres, and especially enlivening if you are suffering graveyard-son fatigue.