Conjunto Papa Upa - Vintage Voudou (Music With Soul 45, 2013)
Conjunto Papa Upa - Vintage Voudou
(7"/Digital) Music With Soul Records MWS006, 2013-10-24
A1. Vintage Voudou
B1. Camuri Chico
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Press Release :
During the 1970’s, in the ever changing musical world, there was a tendency for the use of tape echos, analogue delays and overall experimentation that was integrated through many genre’s across every continent. Latin America was no exception.
All across the sub-continent, young people started to pick up electric guitars and combo organs and started to form their own heavily influenced bands in the guise of the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. Seeking new horizons, they started to not only fine tune their mainstream pop and rock idols music that saturated the commercial airwaves but cleverly injected a healthy dose of the music that was largely overlooked but that was played in the local streets. That’s how Colombia got its Champeta, Peru got its Chicha and Brazil its Tropicalia.
In oil rich 1970’s Venezuela however, this phenomenon never quite took hold despite all the ingredients being within grasp of its many creative musicians. With a rich polyrhythmic and instrumentally diverse African musical heritage to lean on and a vibrant, young, middle class being able to out muscle their neighboring counterparts financially, musical “take off” was close except for one very important yet decisive factor. A record industry with a minimum level of intuition.
Fast forward to 2013 and the times they are a changing. Driven by the historical frustrations of the aforementioned and subsequent decades, Venezuelan born music priest Alex Figueira has decided to “grab the bull by the horns” and fill the historical gap of generations past. Alongside Baldomero Verdú, a master in Afro-Venezuelan drumming who has played with some of the true heavy weights on that scene such as Uno Solo Pueblo and La Parranda de Miriam, Conjunto Papa Upa bring into our lives this fabulous, double sided, never to be forgotten release.
The hypnotic and driving rhythms of Vintage Voudou pays tribute to what are probably the hottest, tropical dance parties currently shaking Amsterdam with Alex more than happy to share his passion with an eager and anticipating crowd. Borne out from his love of finding lost musical treasures from some of the world’s most exotic destinations, this has now led to the opening of the shop of the same name situated in Amsterdam’s famous Red Light District, satisfying the vinyl lust for like-minded aficionados.
From its hard hitting drum pattern intro to its hand claps and call and response vocals to the raw, rhythm section, we are transported back 400+ years to when the first African slaves were transported to Venezuela until the melodic, drenched in delay guitar riff pushes our senses back to the same West African coast those slaves departed from, this time in the 20th century.
Camuri Chico is one of those urban beaches on the suburbs of Caracas where you can get everything besides a calm day. Groups of people playing “Tambores” accompanied by litters of “Guarapita” (a home-made Venezuelan drink made with passion fruit and cheap Aguardiente) are the norm. In this multi-ethnic proletarian chaos, a local Dick Dale wanna-be joins the frenetic Guarapita fueled drumming with his guitar, creating a surrealist scenario that turns seriously psychedelic when the barely working 1970's Farfisa organ shows up, abruptly.
It’s a scary yet joyous sounding collaboration taking you on a psychedelic journey with a possessed voudou priest piloting a half broken 1970’s Caribbean space ship, taking off from the hot Venezuelan beach of Camuri Chico and landing somewhere on the African continent along the borders between Angola and the Congo. And all the time the “in-flight” entertainment will be encouraging you to accept your destiny and to never, ever sit down.
Feel the warmth and enjoy the sound of Conjunto Papa Upa on their first outing and hear for yourself how they express themselves from that largely forgotten era of fine, upstanding and experimental music of Latin America from a bygone age.
'TAMBOR! Afro Venezuelan Recordings 1978-1986, selected by Alex Figueira.
Here it is, people!!! To celebrate the release of the 45 debut of CONJUNTO PAPA UPA, a mix of one of the main influences in the eclectic group of influences from the project: Afro Venezuelan music! Golpes, Sangueos and Fulías recorded between 1978 and 1986, all played with overwhelming passion. Feel the heat of the Venezuelan Black coast while you wait to hear Conjunto Papa Upa's unique approach to this Heavy sound. Enjoy and Share!
The heavy sound of the African heritage in Venezuela. Rhythms and Percussion instruments brought from West Africa by the time of the slave trade that remained unexposed until the late 70's, when the band Un Solo Pueblo took the Venezuelan airwaves by storm with a traditional repertoire they had compiled themselves after traveling extensively for years in the most remote areas of the country in order to learn those songs directly from people who had successively learnt them from their ancestors on a process that went back to the arrival of the first slaves, in the early 16th century.
Employing unique drums like the Cumaco, Mina, Culo 'e Puya, Paila or the Quitiplás, the polyrhythmic structure of rhythms such as Golpe (with each town having its own particular variation), Sangueo or Fulía can be heard on this mix, that compiles some of the most interesting moments of the many recordings that began to surface in Venezuela back in the late 70's featuring Afro Venezuelan music exclusively.
All music taken from original Vinyl Records. Hope you enjoy and share!