Personnel: David Byrne (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, background vocals); David Byrne (guitar); Herbert Vianna, Arto Lindsay, Celia Cruz (vocals); Romero Lubambo (electric guitar); Yomo Toro (cuatro); Luchinho Bazadao, Lucinho Bizadao (cavaquinho); Eric Weissberg (mandolin); Huti Rodriquez (tamboura); Felix Farrar, Floyd Carter (violin); Enrique Orengo (cello); Acua Turree Ensemble (strings); Mauricio Smith (flute); James Fearnley, Agapito Pasqual (accordion); Angel Fernandez (woodwinds, trumpet); Kenneth Hitchcock, Bobby Porcelli, Oscar Pe¤a (alto saxophone); Lawrence Feldman, Mitch Frohman (tenor saxophone); Steve Sacks (baritone saxophone); Steve Guttman, Agusto Onna, Jr., Shunzo Ohno, Joe Shepley, Ite Jerez, Charlie Sep£lveda (trumpet); Barry Olsen, Joe de Jesus, David Sacks, Sam Burtis, Tom "Bones" Malone, Barry Rogers, Keith O'Quinn (tenor trombone); Dale Turk, David Taylor (bass trombone); Paquito Pastor (piano, Fender Rhodes piano); Leini Guerrero (piano); Jos‚ Gallegos, Jose Gallegos (keyboards); Sergio Brandao (bass instrument); Juan Martinez, Robby Ameen (drums); Jose Mangual Jr. (congas, bongos, bata, guiro, bells); Luis Arias, Johnny Pacheco (congas); Cyro Baptista (agogo, tambourine, caxixi); Marc Quifiones (bata, timbales); Jorge Jose Da Silva (tambourine); Charlie Santiago (timbales); Lucy Penabaz (background vocals); Milton Cardona (quinto, congas, bata, claves, shekere, background vocals); Lewis Kahn (violin, trombone, bass trombone); Kirsty MacColl (background vocals).
Recording information: Atlantic Studios, New York, NY (05/1989-07/1989); Right Track Recording Studios, New York, NY (05/1989-07/1989).
Unknown Contributor Roles: Milton Cardona; Charlie Santiago; Santiago Pasqual; Jose Mangual Jr.; Luis Manuel.
David Byrne's first release after the breakup of the Talking Heads is not only a logical progression from their final album, NAKED, it's his first truly pop-oriented solo work. (THE CATHERINE WHEEL was a dance score, and MUSIC FROM THE KNEE PLAYS a collaboration with avant-garde composer Robert Wilson based on New Orleans second-line music.)
Built on his recent fondness for Latin and Afro-Cuban musical styles (Byrne founded the Brazilophilic Luaka Bop label around this time as well), REI MOMO is half music lesson--the liner notes explain which songs are sambas, cumbias, etc.--and half late-period Talking Heads album. The combination works surprisingly well, with the highlight being the witty "Make Believe Mambo," co-starring Kirsty MacColl, who would later make her own album of Latinate pop, 2000's TROPICAL BRAINSTORM. This track and others sound so much like tunes from NAKED that clearly Byrne simply didn't need the Heads anymore.