Papa Shango

The Band

Papa Shango is an Ottawa-based blues band that came together early 2008. What started out as a few old friends jamming out some tunes has evolved into a 8-piece full sounding blues/funk/jam band with a wide range of influences. Over half of the members in the band have know each other since childhood and their days at Bell High, while the other half have come together through more recent friendships.

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Alanna George Lead Vocals, Keys, Harp

  • Musical Influences: Blues
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Joe Nesrallah Guitar

  • Other Instruments: Drums
  • Musical Accomplishments: Elbow Room open stage
  • Musical Influences: Albert King, Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton
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Ilan Kolet Guitar, Vocals

  • Musical Influences: Freddie King, Allman Brothers Band, Phish
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Chris Lengyel Blues Harp

  • Musical Accomplishments: Muddy Waters, Son House, Mississippi John Hurt (In a past life…Yah right! I wish!!!!)
  • Musical Influences: Delta Blues. Country Blues. Anything Blues. Harp greats past and present.
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Andrew Matsukubo Percussion, Drums

  • Musical Accomplishments: Dissension, The Groomsmen, Papa Shango
  • Musical Influences: Rolling Stones
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David Matsukubo Bass

  • Bassist and writer for: Otis Strange
  • Musical Present: Bassist for Papa Shango
  • Musical Influences: The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, The Kinks
  • Musical Aspirations: Arrive on time
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Dave Olsen Keyboards

  • Other instruments: guitar, drums, trombone
  • Education: Humber College Music
  • Keyboardist for: Just Think, Bennie & The Jets, No Fences, Sara Marlowe, Shade
  • Musical Present: leader of the Dave Olsen Group
  • Musical Influences: Steely Dan, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Miles Davis, Peter Gabriel, Joni Mitchell, Colin Hay
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Jonny Olsen Drums, Percussion, Vocals

  • Other instruments: bass, guitar, piano, didgeridoo.
  • Education: Dominics Music Acadamy, Bell High.
  • Drummer for: Otis Strange, Jacob Two Two, Andrea England, Namaoke, Celtae, My Tiny Circus.
  • Guest appearances for: Nectar, Eric Egleston Band, Joe August, Anneke’s Star, Jessica Millar, Choke Cherry, Starewell K, Kenny H, Marcus Maidment.
  • Host of: Jammin with Jonny at the Elbow Room.
  • Co-host of: ”Drum or Die” percussion Radio Show on CHUO.
  • Musical Present: Leader of Junkyard Symphony,, Drummer for Papa Shango
  • Musical Influences: Afro-Celt Sound System, Peter Gabriel, Rush, Mickey Hart, Jai Uttal and the Pagan Love Orchestra, Tuatara, Bob Marley, Stompin’ Tom.
  • Musical Aspirations: Win a Juno, teach Andrew Matsukubo how to play percussion, figure out how to make Dave Matsukubo arrive on time to practice so Joey stops writing about it in his emails.
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Jason McNamara Harmonica, Percussion, Saxophone

  • Instruments: Harmonica, Percussion, Saxophone
  • Nickname: Sleepy J
  • Musical Influences: Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson II (not to be confused with fellow New Zealander..Sonny Bill Williams)
  • Musical Aspirations: Wake up before noon.
Expand Papa Shango Collapse Papa Shango

Papa Shango About The Band

The band's name "Papa Shango" was inpired from a longtime friend and highschool buddy that sadly passed away in 2007. He was known to many as Andrew "the Bigman" Ford and also by the handle of PapaShango to many of his McMaster University friends as well as Ottawa buddies. Not only was he a great soul, with a heart bigger than his frame, but he was truly a great friend to all those in his life. He was generous to a fault, and it was his warmth, wit and passion that made him larger than life. He influenced many lives whether it be through sport, academics or his outgoing and gregarious character. He loved to have a great time. He loved to see others have a great time. He loved music and he loved the blues. In memory and spirit of Papa "the Bigman" Shango.

Photos taken by Alan Dean. Visit

Papa Shango practices at SoundCheck Rehearsal Studios.