Talent can come from the most amazing and unexpected origins and more when we are talking about music, a branch of art from which always emerges people with a lot of potential who can completely break our schemes. This leads us to introduce the topic of a group of four young musicians and singers who joined their skills despite their apparent differences. They are the musical group Ladama.
Ladama is an alternative Latin music band composed of four members of different nationalities: Venezuelan Maria Fernanda Gonzalez, Brazilian Lara Klaus, Colombian Daniela Serna and American Sara Lucas.
Three of the four members of the group spoke exclusively with International Salsa Magazine and this report will show some of the topics covered during this pleasant conversation.
Origins of Ladama as a group
The conversation was started by Lara and Dani, who explained a bit about the rise and concept of the band. The group was created in 2014 while the girls were doing an artistic residency known as OneBeat, which was sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. They were selected to represent their respective countries, which led them to socialize with each other and discover the great chemistry between them because of the language and genres they played.
Since OneBeat was an initiative towards cultural exchange between artists and offered the necessary technical equipment to record music, they took full advantage of this space to get to know each other’s styles and see what they could do together.
Once the month-long residency was over, each went their way, but they kept in touch via Skype a year after having met. The motivation to create a project that would encompass a musical band and teaching classes to minority communities remains intact.
They wanted to create an initiative in which community, creativity, social impact and cultural exchange would be the fundamental pillars of Ladama. It was always clear that they not only wanted to make music, but also do something that would positively impact upon society and they think they have succeeded so far.
As for the name Ladama, it is simply a combination of the first two letters of the names of each one: ”la” comes from Lara, ”da” comes from Dani and ”ma” comes from María Fernanda. At the same time, ”La dama” in Spanish means ”The lady”, which also refers to the fact that it is an all-women group.
How did these different origins coexist in Ladama?
We were very impressed by the fact that all Ladama members came from different countries, so we wanted to know how this impacted the group. Lara answered that the only thing they needed was the desire to play together and move this initiative forward, which means that the origin of each one was not a problem to found the group.
Just like every other band, each one had her own ideas and they discussed them together to know which one to choose or not.
Their major test was given during the Rec-Beat Festival in Brazil. They arrived only a few days before the event, so they could barely rehearse and set up the repertoire. Despite the haste, they feel that everything went very fluidly, as they spent time meeting with each other and writing some songs for an occasion like this.
Given that Lara, Dani and Maria Fernanda come from Latin and tropical countries, there are certain rhythms that sound so much alike, which they took advantage of to unify them and create completely new rhythms that sound good at the same time. Lara also pointed out that these mixes are in constant change and they always try not to get stuck in the same styles.
In addition to that, Ladama has left traditional music behind a little bit and has focused on alternative music and other genres such as pop, soul and R&B.
Dani addressed the topic of genres by saying that they do not follow a plan in which they have something specific to play or mix. Any of their songs can go from Dominican merengue and Colombian cumbia to trap and reggaeton without any problems. They do not like to limit themselves and always seek to reach all audiences.
Ladama in a Tiny Desk concert series
Playing on Tiny Desk (a series of live concerts organized by the radio program All Songs Considered in the United States) is always a prestige for any artist or group that performs on that platform, which is inviting Latin singers more frequently every time.
The girls were at a festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where they had the opportunity to meet the curator of Tiny Desk, who would invite Ladama to record their session in Washington D.C. shortly thereafter.
Lara considers that this was a great opportunity to spread their work due to the large number of people who always tune in to Tiny Desk, in addition to the many artists they knew after their appearance on the platform.
For her part, María Fernanda commented that, on that same occasion, they took the opportunity to bring instruments from their own countries so that the Tiny Desk audience could get to know them. She also stressed that this session will be an important audiovisual document for history that will serve as an inspiration for other musicians in the future.
It was a great achievement after all that hard work.
Music classes for the community
The members of Ladama have also been focusing on music classes for the community at large, mostly in schools and universities. In their four countries, they have given workshops of all kinds related to music in the languages they speak, which are, English, Spanish and Portuguese.
the artist emphasized that they always try to do this type of activities together in the very countries where they offer live performances. They have total freedom to do things separately, but they prefer to carry out these activities supporting each other.
Although they offer classes to anyone who is interested, Latino children are a very important group for Ladama, as many of them often have some problems of identity and adaptation to the United States. When they arrive at school in this country, they often disguise or even hide their Latino roots in order to fit in with their peers, so these classes are an opportunity for them to reconnect with that identity they begin to leave behind.
These workshops and classes also serve as additional income for the group, as they can not only support themselves through tours and festivals. These educational activities are another way to diversify their earnings and have more stable inflows of money.
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