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Bwana - Bwana CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.89 | 16 ratings

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5 stars Definitely one of the best Central American prog rock albums there is. I give this album a 5 star rating not only because it's musically excellent but because it's one of the origins of the genre later known as "Latin Rock" (whatever that means) .

Roberto Pérez "Maguila" has conceded some interviews where he explains that they first started to conceive the album in 1970 when they won a contest in Nicaragua to record an LP in Costa Rica. According to him, the label in Costa Rica didn't want to record them because they didn't like the sound of their music. Bear in mind that Nicaragua is a very multicultural country, the people in the eastern side of the country are mostly of African descent, in the middle of the country there are a lot of people with European ancestry, and the people in the west are mostly indigenous/mestizo. So it really is a multicultural country and therefore people in Nicaragua were accustomed to those sounds.

Months later, and after Santana's "Evil Ways" was a hit, the label in Costa Rica called and asked them to record the LP. Maguila admits that the album isn't perfect, but it was also due to the fact that the label got to pick some songs, and the last song "Lolita" was almost an improv because they had nothing else to show them.

Nonetheless I think that "Bwana" is really good progressive rock album, I think that the psychedelic sounds that they bring to the table make this album far better than Santana's early work. The guitar serves the songs (not the guitarist ego) and the percussions are sublime, thanks to the amazing work of one of the best bongosero/conguero in Nicaragua's history Salvador "La Chava" Fernández (RIP) and of Donaldo "el picudo" Mantilla, who connected so well with La Chava. No wonder Chepito Areas fitted so well in Santana's band. Last but not least, I don't want to finish the review without acknowledging the amazing work of Ricardo Palma and Danilo Amador two incredible pianists/organists who give Bwana the best sounds of Nicaraguan music at the time (Los Rockets, los Five Hippies).

It really is a shame that their second work is impossible to find. I would love to give it a listen.

This review wouldn't be possible without the interview of Edgardo Barberena.

LimiBulni | 5/5 |


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