Conga Electrica is a diverse album with five new songs and five songs chosen from Cuba’s rich musical history. Its textures range from that of an intimate trio playing a “sambafied” bolero (Añorado Encuentro) to a “transient” take on Cuban carnival music with guitar hero Octavio Kotan’s pulsating riffs and Brazilian-style call and response drum breaks (the title track). The key innovation on this album is the integration, on four tracks, of “Bloco Quimbombó,” a Brazilian-style bateria or drum section. What the bateria does here is to add a dense layer of street drumming to the Cuban groove—beats tailor-made for each song by musical director and producer Nick Herman.
The album features the powerful callejero (streetwise) voice of Grammy-nominated Havana native David Oquendo, full of spontaneity and humor. Oquendo was likewise deeply involved in the band’s debut release, Quimbombó. Making his debut recording here as a lead singer is Igor Arias Baró, a young Cuban well known in New York for his energetic imporovising in the hard hitting timba style.
"It’s hard not to hope the electric experiment keeps on going. Highly Recommended."
--Peter Watrous, (former NY Times Critic), writing for Descarga Review
"This new set from this hard charging New York
based/world oriented crew will blow your ears wide open.
A savory gumbo that keep the caliente muy... "
"...rambunctious...Within the musical context of Quimbombó,
we've grown accustomed to authenticity.
In a very modern setting, that's what we got. "
--Nestor Louis, Palosalsero.com
Album Cover Art: “Maracatu da Zona da Mata” by Marcio Melo