Saturday, January 14, 2006


Symbiotic Papaya Music

   Papaya Music, a Costa Rican based music label, has long been known for its representation of indigenous musicians and their regional sounds. Manuel Obregon, besides being one of three partners who own Papaya, is also a highly acclaimed pianist/songwriter/conductor/producer who has put his stamp on Papaya since its inception. The result has been a variety of offerings, ranging from Obregon’s solo efforts to a collection of Costa Rican gospel music and even a CD of Manuel conducting, scoring and performing with the Papaya Music Orchestra.

   Recently, the Papaya team presented a package with a wildly new concept. A Costa Rican camera crew was recruited to film the natural wildlife at the national preserve at Monteverde. Watching the footage, one cannot help but marvel at the cameramen’s patience and dedication to the project. It is nothing less than stunning. But this, in itself, is not innovative. What sets the film, appropriately titled, “Simbiosis”, apart from others like it is the soundtrack.

   Obregon has taken footage, complete with its natural wildlife sounds, into the studio to score and record piano accompaniment to interplay with the original Costa Rican musicians – Mother Nature herself, in all her glory.

The Simbiosis Team
   Recorded in Dolby digital 5.1 surround sound, the final result is truly breathtaking. Manuel Obregon dances on the keyboards with the songs of the birds and the monkeys, the waterfalls and the rainbows, as the audience is allowed to view on their screens the Costa Rica that existed before developers invited themselves here to plunder and pillage. It is a shame that the Papaya crew had to go to Monteverde to give the audience a glimpse of the splendor once known in all of Guanacaste. But such is the price of high-rise condominiums, fast food chains and capital gains.

   Simbiosis is presented in two formats. The CD is a wonderful accompaniment in the car, as a mood-setter or a dinner supplement. The DVD is a great keepsake of a Costa Rica that is rapidly vanishing. Any comments concerning this article are gladly welcome.