N.Y. Conga Legend - United States
OverviewThe Legendary, Master Percussionist Papo Pepin was born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. He migrated to Brooklyn, N.Y with his family at the age of two. His Father "Tono Pepin," (who later became one of the first bongoceros of a young Tito Puente in the 1950's,) taught Papo Pepin to play congas at the tender age of three. He recorded his first record at the age of six with his fathers band " El Gran Combo Haciendo Algo -Darionex." Papo Pepin moved on to study music at the Conservatory of Music in Brooklyn, while traveling and touring with his fathers band. Papo Pepin records and performs with some of the greatest musicians in the history of Mambo/Salsa music: Tito Puente, Mario Bausa, Machito,Celia Cruz, Ruben Blades, Roberto Roena, Louie Ramirez, Willie Rosario, Bobby Valentin, Kako, Charlie Parmieri, Sofie Hernandez, Danny Rivera,Victor Manuelle, Willie Colon,Mark Anthony, La India. In fact, it would be easier to say who Papo Pepin has not pounded the skins with then to go through the 100-plus recordings he has actually done. One of his regular jobs was to provide the percussions for "Africando Rhythms" track sessions, and every Sunday he performs with Chico O'Farrell's Afro-Cuban Jazz Big Band at Birdland in New York. People in the know, speak about him in the same terms as the pioneers of Afro-Cuban percussion; Candido, Mongo Santamaria, Armando Peraza, Patato Valdez, and Francisco Aguabella. Papo Pepin is amongs them. He is the first "port of call ," when you want the best congero for your session, single-handedly he can make any band swing. There is a whole chapter on him in Vermon Bogg's book on Afro-Caribbean music.,"Salsiology."
His first CD "Al Natural" is a sensational release. His second CD " Ponte En Vela ," is spectacular. Both CD's are selling like hot cakes in USA and Europe. Papo Pepin has contributed to the community by teaching percussion workshops in the Public Schools of NYC (Manhattan and the Bronx.) He has also participated in musical lectures at Hostos Community College and has performed with Dr. Ray Santos and his Orchestra at Manhattan College, and City College University of New York. While teaching percussions to the youth of his own community, as a means to keeping them off the streets and also bringing music to Cancer patients for emotional healing, Papo Pepin conducts three of his own bands. 1) Papo Pepin y su Orchestra Yimbaraco (which consist of ten or the finest musicians in New York,) all arrangments are originals. 2) Papo Pepin and his Mambo Swing (consist of seven of the finest musicians from N.Y.C.) all arrangements are original. 3) Papo Pepin and his Latin Jazz Ensemble (which consist of seven of NYC finest musicians,)all arrangements are originals. They perform at; SOB's, The Best Western-West Gate Lounge, Yacht Clubs, Riverbank State Pk., The Bronx Council, Festivals, Fund Raisers, Gonzalez and Gonzalez, Creole, Havana Central, 108th st. Lounge, Weddings, Private Parties and out of town events.
Traveling with his Mambo Swing band around the States and presently working on his third production, is what keeps Papo Pepin young at heart, his sound fresh and new. This innovator of rythums and beats will never grow old to salseros around the world.