1. Banana / 2. Del Copacabana A 34 / 3. Mi Pequeño Gran Paolo / 4. Paco La Calle / 5. Tu No Me Puedes Conquistar / 6. Yo, Mejor Te Doy / 7. Ruta 30 / 8. Abuela Tula / 9. El Fino
To launch Mr Bongo’s new Cuban Classic Series, we are thrilled to present this sought-after, psychedelic-funk masterpiece. A fusion of traditional Latin and Afro-Cuban rhythms meets disco, jazz, and funk, with hints of 70s soundtrack productions, this much-loved cult album featuring nine predominantly instrumental tracks is a real treasure that deserves a much wider appreciation. One look at the trippy artwork and you know it is going to be special.
Originally released in 1977 on Areito Records, a sub-label of the state-owned label Egrem, it has become one of the rarest (even in Cuba) and most in-demand albums to come from the label. It is the sole album from Grupo Los Yoyi and was composed, orchestrated, and produced by the mysterious, Jorge Soler Leó.
After Castro ring-fenced Cuba with an embargo on, among other things, Western music, the ‘Yoyi’ album had a sound more left of centre than what was normally allowed to be recorded there at the time. It subtly and covertly flirts with disco, jazz-funk, and electronic sounds coming from the US and Europe. It is probably best known for the space funk, bubbly club cut 'Paco La Calle’. A track that was edited in 2008 by the fantastic DJ / producer, Nick the Record, and one that is guaranteed to set a discerning dancefloor alight. However, ‘Yoyi’ is far from a one-track album. Other highlights include, 'Banana’, with its call and response trombone and horn section, squelchy keys, pulsating breaks and percussion, and a loose, floating vocal arrangement. 'Tu No Me Puedes Conquistar' is a beautiful, bouncing plodder with a variety of instruments interchanging as the track progresses. 'Ruta 30' takes things in a straighter Latin direction, which we are accustomed to from Cuba at that time, yet it is still full of personality, treats and vigour. Take our word for it, this album is strong throughout.
This is one of our favourites and most beloved albums to come out of Cuba and is the perfect flagship for our Cuban Classics Series. Look out for plenty more to come real soon.