Conga Se Menne
One would not expect to find world class musicians in this small northern college town. Marquette, Michigan is not exactly Chicago, Nashville, nor even Memphis, but you couldn't tell by listnening to Derrell Syria and the members of Conga Se Menne.
While the lyrics are geared for fun, the quality of their sound is no laughing matter. Syria's original songs carry the flavor of Michigans Upper Peninsula in lyrical silliness and the spirit of it's hearty residence in musical excellence. Conga Se Menne live and work along the chilly invigorating banks of lake Superior and their mastery of melodic syncopation is second to none.
The musical style of Conga Se Menne is impossible to pigeon hole, running the gamut of Blues, Funk, Latin, Reggae, Rock, Caribbean beats and ethnic Finnish sounds. Island beat percussion blends smoothly with mellifluos keyboards, sonorous horns and big shouldered guitar work - all mixing with an influence of traditional styles.
Syria's soumalainnen background shows in his comedic themes, Finnish lyrics (hyvää kesää, baha poika,) and the yooper-accented crooning so familiar to local fans. Most of the music tells of good times and an appreciation of the finer, intangible aspects of living life on it's own terms, of not taking themselves too seriously.
While the message is light hearted and entertaining, the musical competence of these fine musicians cannot be disputed. Some of this material is difficult to play. Make no mistake about it, these people are serious and talented musicians. In an era of media-controlled popular music, the music of Conga Se Menne is a refreshing respite for all concerned.