Ricardo Lemvo's mix of Cuban salsa and pan-African styles (soukous, 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, and most importantly, inspiring his audiences to dance away their worries. 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. This seemingly effortless album is the product of much hard work and knowledge. 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 Erçetin's "Elbette," which he turns into a Turkish tango. Invited guest musicians include Congolese guitar legend Papa NoÃ«l, singers Wuta Mayi and Nyboma, and the Cuban Alfredo De La Fe on violin and cello. Isabela is also the name of Ricardo Lemvo's new daughter, born as the album was nearing completion. What better way to celebrate a blessing than with a dance?
"Lemvo and his band, Makina Loca, manage a blend of Cuban and Central African traditions that is seamless and organic - and infectious." — The Los Angeles Times
"Lemvo's passion for the roots of Afro-Cuba comes through in his singing. His voice is vibrant and melodious... he is one of the few artists in tropical music today who is moving the genre forward." — The Chicago Tribune
"Whether they're kicking out Cuban jams or taking afro-pop to the bridge, Lemvo and company will make you sweat." — Time Out New York