Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Papa Noel & Papi Oviedo

  • Bana Congo [Tumi, 2002] A-

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Bana Congo [Tumi, 2002]
Noel's record--Papi, the well-respected tres-playing offspring of tres legend Isaac Oviedo, is on only half the 10 tracks. But collaboration agrees with Noel, the longtime Franco guitarist and recent Kékélé mainstay whose exercises in the son style that fueled Congolese rumba in olden times gain contour from their brushes against Cuba's compatible melodic resources. The tunes are brighter than on his solo album, and Oviedo's angular tres adds bite to the rumba flow. Several lyrics taken by second-rank soneros boil down to "Our classic style beats your newfangled noise," which I'm glad I only know from the booklet. The music makes the case better without them. A-