Colombian performer Totó la Momposina specializes in tribal, Afro-Caribbean, and indigenous sounds. The songs of her collective discography, which spans more than 25 years, thrum with congas and distinctly island-style percussion. Backing vocals in the form of chanting echo some of her lyrics while sidestepping others.
When I first discovered her music, thanks to the modern marvel that is Google, her powerful voice resonated through my tiny desktop speakers. Just like that, I was whisked back to the days when I lived next door to a santero family. All that was missing was the midnight bay of the sacrificial goat. The cleaning lady even poked her head in, her hand encircling a live chicken's neck. "Where the hell did she get that?" I wondered after ushering her out with assurances that el babalao was not coming.
In any event, we could wax musicology all day about the similarities between Totó's sound and those of my native Cuba, and then highlight the distinct nuances that separate her traditionally tinted Colombian grooves from the aforementioned. But you'd get a far better feel listening to it yourself. And if even a portion of the energy of her recorded material translates, we're in for one hell of a show.
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