SALVADOR SANGÓ 's music is an eclectic blend of West African rhythms and melodies with Western and Non-western styles. Crafted in legendary Lagos, Nigeria, the band’s music serves one sole purpose: to create unity, as opposed to the division and fragmentation imposed on us in today’s world. To eliminate the differences and break the barriers caused by ethnicity, religion, culture and social status, which are some of the boxes of compartmentalization in which mankind has been condemned to live since time immemorial. In order to achieve that they do not employ fiery, political/religious lyrics and messages and do not call for violent revolution and rage against the machine. Others have done and are still doing that with, apparently, no great success, judging from today’s state of affairs. Instead, they pursue their goal more subtly but clearly with vocal stories about people, places and situations, often using allegory and metaphor but also by just music since instrumental music provokes feelings and emotions which are beyond words. Armed with the supreme element of African rhythm, our music, more often than not compels our audiences to dance while their ears are still at work. All this is done with the utmost respect for the divine nature and purpose of music.
SALVADOR SANGÓ (pronounced Shongó) is the fruit of labour of Sotiris Papadopoulos, a Greek of the diaspora, or better said, a citizen of the world as he left Greece at the age of 17 and lived and worked in another 11 countries before settling down in Nigeria which, in 2021 meritoriously awarded him its citizenship. The band’s name which, as it happens, is also Sotiris’s artistic pseudonym, is not accidental: Salvador is the translation of Sotiris -Saviour- in Spanish, whereas Sango' is the God of lightning, the protector of justice and the weak in the Yoruba pantheon, one of the most populous tribes in West Africa with a monumental presence in music, dance and the arts. The band’s name itself alludes to the aforementioned musical and cultural marriage.
Circumstances brought the Greek to the land of the Yoruba when he came to Nigeria for the first time in 1980 as a visitor and was privileged to perform with Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the indisputable Afrobeat king. The same destiny brought him back -through UNESCO- eight years later to head the Physics department of a Nigerian university. having come from the research elite of Oxford. Being a physicist during the day and a musician during the night was a tall order for Sotiris and after a series of personal and professional pursuits he opted for music putting his other talents aside. During this phase Sotiris formed his well known jazz quartet, SPICE, and has performed with numerous Nigerian stars including Femi Kuti, Orlando Julius and Victor Waifo.
The band’s music employs Yoruba (poly) rhythms and melodies as its foundation but the final result surpasses the West African borders: it passes through Latin America for its salsa/afrocuban ingredients, North America for its jazz/blues influences, Western Europe for its classical/rock nuances and the Mediterranean for its flamenco/arabesque colours.
The band’s works comprise songs in Yoruba, English and Spanish, as well as instrumentals. One could say without reservation that SALVADOR SANGÓ are hierophants of world music for, along with the musical message passed to their audiences, another one, more ethereal and spiritual is being passed which cannot be described by words but is felt through the wide spectrum of emotions and sentiments their music causes: joy and sadness, nostalgia, exaltation, tranquility and introspection…Yet, two of these are always absent: fear and anger. The result is Afrofusion par excellence. .
The band, in its various forms, has performed extensively both in Nigeria and overseas and has, so far, released three albums: THE ADVICE OF SANGO' (2008) CUANDO SE CAEN LAS MASCARAS (WHEN THE MASKS FALL) (2012) and PRIMITIVE FIRE (2023) While the first album is stylistically very diverse and more of an attempt to satisfy a wide range of listeners with varied musical tastes, the second one is more earth- and rhythm-bound with less compositional influences which are centered mainly around the Afrocuban element. Its apocalyptic title tells the story of a world which has had enough of itself and needs to be reborn, cleansed of its older self. Amongst other things, PRIMITIVE FIRE is about friendship, hope, forgiveness and the magic of Africa and the Mediterranean.