Photo by Kevin Bay
Afropop Worldwide is pleased to premiere “Porro Maracatu,” a hot new single from the fiery pan-Latin American quartet, LADAMA. The track is from their forthcoming eponymous debut album, the product of three years of production across continents and countries. It’s a funky jam, flavored with northeastern Brazil’s syncopated, drum-heavy maracatu music and powered by the mighty voices of LADAMA’s four members. Have a listen right here or find the track on your preferred streaming service. If you’re already moved, their album is available for pre-order on their Bandcamp page.
In this track, we’ve got sounds heard across Latin America, like that rhythmic accordion flair and a guïro laying down a cumbia beat, evidence of LADAMA’s wide-ranging origins. The four masterful Latinx women that drive this project–Lara Klaus, Daniela Serna, Mafer Bandola and Sara Lucas–have come together from Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and the U.S., merging and reimagining the sounds they love: cumbia, maracatu, onda nueva and joropo, with shades of soul, r&b and pop. Together, they’ve churned up a highly danceable, soulful sound rooted in the Afro-Latinx musics of their homes. They move fluidly between Spanish, English and Portuguese, from the sounds of the plains of Venezuela to the Colombia coast–they seek to break down the borders between people and music by engaging in this important and powerful kind of cross-cultural communication.
LADAMA’s Lara Klaus has this to say: “We are all deeply inspired by the rhythms and traditions of our homelands…From the first time we played together, I felt a palpable shift in the way I relate to music, and see it as a powerful tool for not only energizing people but for change and transformation.” The foursome first worked together in the U.S., through the OneBeat fellowship, an initiative of the U.S. State Department to bring together young artists from around the world to “collaboratively write, produce, and perform original music, and develop strategies for arts-based social engagement.”
LADAMA hit on something strong when they came together. The group took their passion for music and incubated projects striving to “engage youth and other women in their respective communities in the process of sound design, composition and audio production.” They’ve worked with young artists in New York, Colombia and beyond, teaching music and helping to cultivate creative, personal expression through communal music-making. They also are pushing back against the gender inequality and unequal representation of women in music education and the music industry. LADAMA’s Sara Lucas says, “We understand how rare and powerful it is to find other musicians who simultaneously challenge and inspire each other…and are deeply connected in our mission to empower other women by using music to shatter structures and boundaries…Music, as a form of expression, is one of the most enlivening tools that people can use to heal, and inspire themselves and their communities.”
Not only is this dynamic quartet working some magic with youth around the Americas, they are also crafting some excellently funky and inspiring music themselves–and if “Porro Maracatu” is any evidence, we have a lot to look forward to in LADAMA’s upcoming debut album, to be released Sept. 8 on Six Degrees Records. Keep tabs on them at their website, www.ladamaproject.org.