Catalog #MWS LP 003
ReleaseW 25 - 2024
FormatVinyl - EULP
 € 29,99 incl. VAT, excl. shipping


  1. el segundo es mas sabroso
  2. el algoritmo
  3. fruta madura
  4. reos del deseo
  5. no le pongas coca cola
  6. hablame claro
  7. tu mama tenia razon
  8. la misma vaina
  9. amigas picadas
  10. vinimos a hablar


** Comes with insert and download coupon.

Imagine a Latin remake of Back to the Future. The mad scientist is Arsenio Rodriguez (the godfather of salsa) and the young student who travels through time with him is Eblis Alvarez (Meridian Brothers). This album can only be described as the perfect soundtrack for that movie that never was.

After the massive buzz generated by his first solo album, Mentallogenic, Alex Figueira got back in the studio to work in a more collective fashion this time, carefully assembling the second album of his largest project to date, Conjunto Papa Upa; a team of 6 musicians, spanning 3 generations of some of the best talent in the Latin and avant-garde scenes.

In an era where tropical music is dominated by purely electronic and rhythmically uniform sounds, the ten songs encompassed in “Fruta Madura” (“Ripe Fruit”) wander through the most diverse tempos, rhythms, and motifs effortlessly. A real breath of fresh air that gracefully incorporates soul, funk, jazz, psychedelia, and electronics into a solid tropical, irresistibly polyrhythmic foundation, without ever succumbing to the many genre clichés.

The distinctive production and catchy songwriting of Figueira shine in a very distinctive light on this second full-length. Living up to his reputation (Miles Cleret, founder of Soundway Records, called him “one of the scene's truly authentic and eccentric producers”), he takes the opportunity to show he’s not afraid to keep walking his own path.

Taking the band for a wild ride through the traditions of Africa, America, and the Caribbean; contrasting them with a ridiculously wide plethora of vintage, contemporary, and futuristic sounds, and pivoting on the exuberant musicality displayed by his musicians; the result leaves no doubt: this album is destined to be considered a future classic of the exciting tropical psychedelic music of the 21st century.

Addressing the most diverse themes in this new collection of songs, things take on a much more mature tone, as the title clearly suggests.

The opening track “El segundo es más sabroso” (“The second one is tastier”) sets the tone in the most assertive way imaginable, with the band boldly declaring, through multiple metaphorical references (laid upon a crazy mix of Dominican merengue, Detroit techno, classic and free jazz, dub, and electro), that the bar will be set higher with this second album.

The remaining compositions touch upon the most diverse subjects, with a fair dose of humor, sarcasm, and postmodern “magic realism”. “El Algoritmo” (The Algorithm) is a parranda-cumbia hybrid (for lack of a specific term) about the omnipresence of technology in our lives. The sophisticated Latin soul of the titling track “Fruta Madura” makes a case for the beauty of the maturity process. Some key philosophical teachings of Marcus Aurelius (the role of causality, the impositions of “the logos” and the importance of self-control) get a twisted cumbia treatment on “Reos del Deseo” (Prisoners of Desire). “No le pongas Coca-Cola” (“Don’t put Coca Cola in it”) shows us the most satirical side of the band, accusing those who mix Coca Cola with Rum of committing "sacrilege", on a powerful base of Dem Bow (the grandfather of Reggaeton), intertwined with touches of soul, salsa, and Cuban comparsa.

"Háblame Claro" (“Talk to me clearly”) is a story of heartbreak that evokes in its first part the spirit of the erotic salsa of the 80s (a subgenre deeply despised by purists), and after an unexpected samba interlude, leads to the hardest salsa of the 70s (a subgenre adored by purists), to end up in the surprising form of pure Afro-Cuban ceremonial music.

“Tu mamá tenía razón” ("Your Mom Was Right") is an attempt to exalt the spirit of the Latin American soap opera in the key of “acid bachata”, to recount a real-life case, witnessed by the band on countless occasions: the partying woman who arrives at the show accompanied by her bitter husband, who obviously does not like to dance. A very cheeky song to talk about the very serious and pertinent topic of female empowerment.

“La misma vaina” (“The same thing”) with its indescribable blend of bantú, candomblé, and Mozambique rhythms with abstract synthesizers, is an ode to adventure in favor of the aversion to taking risks and seeking predictability.

“Amigas picadas” (“Salty friends”) is another humorous song recounting another real-life case witnessed by the band on countless occasions: a love encounter sabotaged by the girlfriend's friends, who all happen to fancy the same guy. A jazzy take on the ancient Dominican rhythm of pambiche (grandfather of merengue), with generous psychedelic touches, resembling the classy late 60s releases of Guadeloupe's legendary producer / label owner Henri Debs.

“Vinimos a hablar” (“We came to talk”) takes sarcasm to the highest level, to ridicule the absurdity (also experienced by the band firsthand) seen in live music venues where people pay a ticket to go and have conversations that could be carried out much better on any bar, where no band is playing. The music alternates between a delicate melody with loose, sparse percussion and a full-on, pumping Angolan semba, with a techno kick drum included; bringing things to an apotheotic grooving finale, where the peculiar swing of Venezuelan calypso from the Callao region is thrown on top of all the precedent elements; closing the album in the most uplifting, “end of the carnival parade” feel.

The artwork is a delicate and impactful oil painting by Colombian artist Kevin Simón Mancera, who has collaborated many times with the label before (“Maracas, tambourines and other hellish things” tape and the Lola’s Dice LP).

What the experts are saying:

“Alex (Figueira) dove into this work with a brutal cohesion between lyrics and synths. Timbre poetry, sound poetry (you name it). And that, superimposed on his always impeccable percussive base, confirms the title of “avant-garde visionary of our beautiful Latin music”".
“Papa Upa's infectious quirkiness is a balm against boredom. A mature album, but without an expiration date”.

“Here there is a lot of strength, drum, cadence and psychedelia, lost dance rhythms, united in an intercontinental Latin/African/and Caribbean journey, a unique winning combination that we could consider the new “Ritmo Figueira”.

Conjunto Papa Upa are: 

Alex Figueira - Timbales, percussion, vocals. 

Gerardo Rosales - Congas, percussion, vocals. 

Ramón Mendeville - Bongos, percussion, vocals. 

Randy Winterdal - Bass.

Andrew Moreno - Guitar.

Nico Chientarolli - Organ, piano, synths.

All songs written by Alex Figueira. 

Arranged and performed by Conjunto Papa Upa. 

Recorded, produced, mixed and mastered by Alex Figueira at Heat Too Hot, Amsterdam.

More like this