Conjunto Papa Upa

A mind-blowing yet joyous-sounding assault takes you on a psychedelic journey with a possessed voodoo priest piloting a half-broken 1970’s Caribbean space ship, departing from the hot Venezuelan beach of Camuri Chico in order to land somewhere on the African continent along the borders between Angola and the Congo. 

Venezuelan born Alex Figueira is no stranger to the cavernous depths of 1970’s tropical music. Though primarily known for the internationally acclaimed Psych outfit Fumaça Preta, Figueira is no less committed to experimentation and provocation with his other group, Conjunto Papa Upa. In this formation, he digs deeply into the buried traditions of his native country, connecting the dots that were left hanging in the 500+ years of Afro-Caribbean musical cross-pollination, bringing these roots into totally unpredictable, uncharted (and exciting) territory. The astonishing thing is the band’s gritty sound (frenetic percussion, guitar, organ and bass) combines familiar elements people know and like in a way they have never heard (but will instantly freak out to): African and Caribbean rhythms, psychedelia, surf, samba, old school salsa, funk and sarcastic lyrics that cleverly portrait the complexity of the current socio-political situation in Venezuela. The end result is an irresistibly danceable meld that manages to be vintage and futuristic, both scary and fun at the same time.

Conjunto Papa Upa turns heads with every new release, and are assured to be a wild sensation live. Their two 45 singles released on Music With Soul Records have received unanimous critical acclaim, increasing the demand for a full length release, to be recorded at the end of 2015 in the same studio where the now iconic Fumaça Preta debut was made.

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It’s hard to believe that this has been recorded nowadays. It sounds like Santana before their first album. It’s like a combo of spooky and upbeat at the same time. Great job!

– Alt Latino, NPR Radio.

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