Grupo Los Yoyi


Mr Bongo • 1977

It all starts very well. The first track on the album is called »Banana« and after a cowbell and percussion intro it gets straight down to business with wah-wah guitar, Hammond organ and a »dididi« choir. Until the horns take over and leave no questions or wishes unanswered. Cuban rhythms backed by funk and a touch of Seventies psychedelia come together on Grupo Los Yoyi’s only album from 1977 in a relaxed jazz-fusion guise, with a groove that fits, sounds that are stylistically cheesy and melodies to sing along to. This can sometimes become anthemic, as on »Mi Pequerno Gran Paolo«, where the melody is played by a dirty fuzz guitar while a small choir sings in the background. The impression that the sounds on this album do not quite toe the party line—they are decidedly too imperialist— is confirmed by the press release. Even synthesizers are used in abundance, giving this space funk a strong boost. After all, »Yoyi« was released on the state-owned Areito Records label at the time. Maybe someone knew something that someone else didn’t. Or just had good taste. Still, a few questions remain: Why didn’t this group do more? And what about the band leader, Jorge Soler León, who was a bassist and producer but apparently didn’t release much else? Or perhaps he did? If so, where are they?