Say, have you ever heard of Toto La Momposina? No? Well neither had I, until my editor put me onto her.
So I set out to see just who that was, and thanks to the modern marvel that is Google, within minutes my office was filled with tribal, Afro-Caribbean and indigenous sounds from this excellent Colombian performer's website. Congos and distinctly island-style percussion thrummed and Toto's powerful voice resonated from my tiny desktop speakers. Backing vocals in the form of chanting echoed some of her lyrics, while sidestepping others.
And 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.
any event, we could wax musicology all day about the similarities
between what Toto does and the sounds of my native Cuba, 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 for yourself.
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Lucky for you, she's coming in
concert next Friday! If even a portion of the energy you hear on the
tracks translates, we're in for one hell of a show.
Toto La Momposina y sus Tambores performs at the James L. Knight Center on Friday, August 21 at 8pm. Tickets run $43 and $58.