Saturday, April 28, 2007


Ricardo Lemvo's mix of Cuban salsa and pan-African styles like soukous and Congo rumba has been described by the Los Angeles Times as "seamless and infectious." Born in Congo-Kinshasa of Angolan ancestry, Lemvo formed his Los Angeles-based band Makina Loca in 1990. Since then he has refined his craft and vision, raising his joyous voice with strength, singing songs that celebrate life. He has been enthusiastically acclaimed by both print and broadcast media including BBC Radio, NPR, the NBC Today Show, and CNN World Beat. He has toured extensively in Europe, Australia, and Latin America, and has performed in some of the most prestigious venues in North America including The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Lincoln Center in New York City and The Montreal Jazz Festival.

Isabela, Lemvo's fifth album, can be enjoyed purely for the way it moves, or you can drill down into its complex Afro-Atlantic heritage. Its cosmopolitan bouquet of musical styles is sung in six languages including Portuguese, Spanish, Swahili, Lingala and Kikongo, each with its own distinct musicality. Isabela's repertoire ranges from "Kasongo Boogaloo," a fiery upbeat boogaloo, to '50s Congo classic "Lollobrigida" (written by the late Congolese guitarist Tino Baroza in honor of Italian movie star Gina Lollobrigida), to "Serenata Angolana," a duet with Cape Verdean songstress Maria de Barros that Lemvo dedicated to his beloved Angola. Lemvo even learned to sing in Turkish for his version of Candan Ercetin's "Elbette," which he turns into a Turkish tango. Lemvo's songs are inspiring vignettes of life delivered with flair, using rhythms that are inviting and familiar. Ultimately, it could only come from someone who has seen the world and gathered the music of life.

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