LADAMA is a group of four women, virtuosic musicians, and educators -- Lara Klaus, Daniela Serna, Mafer Bandola and Sara Lucas—each from a different country and culture of the Americas, who are sisters in song, rhythm and spirit. Harnessing music from their respective countries of origin --Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and the United States, the group utilizes traditional and non-traditional instruments from across the Americas, but with a modern twist, to produce Latin Alternative music.
LADAMA’s debut, self-titled album, released in the Fall of 2017, could not be more timely; nowadays both Latin America and the United States, in fact the world, are deeply in need of projects that transcend boundaries and defy norms. This is precisely what their debut album, crafted carefully on a journey through Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and New York, represents. LADAMA’s new self-titled album transcends space, time and borders. Hatched across continents and language by the members of the group themselves, it delivers a fresh take on a myriad of traditional, Pan-American rhythms all coming together seamlessly into LADAMA’s unique blend of enthralling sounds.
The songs in this collection emit an electric pulse and energy that are truly global in concept and vision. A song like Porro Maracatu is a vibrant and provocative marriage of two traditional rhythms from Afro-Colombian and Afro-Brazilian culture. Confesión is a tender love letter to self-actualization and womanhood. Traditional instruments combine with electric arrangements to produce a vibrant, melodious experiment in allowing oneself to feel, speak and reimagine the currents that connect us all across the Americas. In its deepest essence, LADAMA’s inaugural album is a reflection of what it means to communicate across the Americas. Written, composed, arranged and produced by the dynamic foursome, the album is an organic yet modern expression of authenticity across cultures.
LADAMA met on the road in 2014 while touring Los Angeles, Arizona, and New Mexico as part of the prestigious OneBeat Program. Between individual performances, leading youth workshops and public music-making events,
Lara, Daniela, Mafer and Sara uncovered a common dream of building communities through sound and empowering women and youth through music. Reimagining South American and Caribbean styles like cumbia, maracatu, onda nueva and joropo and blending them with soul, R&B and pop, LADAMA creates a new sound all their own. Together, the four shred on the Bandola Llanera from Venezuela, the Tambor Alegre from Colombia, and the Pandeiro from Northeastern Brazil.
With powerful vocals, often accompanied by Pat Swoboda on the bass, LADAMA delivers an utterly unique musical experience. LADAMA flows from the electric to the acoustic, from Spanish to English and Portuguese, and from the high plains of Venezuela to the Colombian coast. Their art proves that borders are meaningless, transporting us to a future where the world communicates across continents and cultures, through sound and story.
"Female Latin powerhouse group LADAMA”
-review of live performance at Music Tastes Good Festival 2018; LA Weekly "Review: Music Tasted Good in Long Beach": October 1, 2018, link here.
"For sheer good times, shows were comprehensively stolen by the all-female masters of rhythm that were LADAMA"
-review of live performance at WOMAD 2018; iNews "Womad festival: weather couldn’t dampen the dazzling weekend": July 30, 2018, link here.
"LADAMA takes on traditional genres with confidence and vigor without being constrained by their conventions. The result is a vivid montage of music of the Americas with irresistible spirit and universal appeal."
-NPR; "All Things Considered": January 2, 2018, link here.
"Energizing and undeniably danceable...intricate and complex yet unadorned and unwavering...[LADAMA has] inspired more than one spontaneous dance outbreak in [our] offices"
-NPR; "Heavy Rotation: Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing": September 30, 2017, link here.
"LADAMA prove[s] that our native cultures are best enjoyed at intersections where traditions merge, rhythms meld and something fresh materializes."
-NPR; "Heavy Rotation: Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing": September 30, 2017, link here.
"Featuring 10 energetic, sonically gorgeous and colorful tracks, LADAMA is an album that unites and empowers. With tracks sung in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, it is a transportative musical journey that, like the band's members, finds its origins across the Americas. The merging of electric arrangements with the traditional rhythms of South American and Caribbean styles; instruments like the bandola llanera from Venezuela, the tambor alegre from Colombia, and the pandeiro and zabumba from northeastern Brazil; and the modern sounds of pop, soul, and R&B results in one riveting, dynamic flavor that transcends borders."
“…Another view of world citizenship was on joyous, colorful, defiant display at CRASHfest…LADAMA offered a joyous, musically deft mélange of sounds from around the Americas in the Foundation Room. Maria Fernanda Gonzalez’s lead lines on the bandola llanera weaved amid the dense grooves of percussionists Lara Klaus and Daniela Serna as Sara Lucas’s impassioned lead vocals floated above. Singing in Portuguese, Spanish, and English, the women dipped into folk styles from Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, and elsewhere.”
-Boston Globe; "Spirit of inclusion pervades CRASHfest": January 30, 2017, link here.
“Musical foursome LADAMA is…many things in one. It is a group comprised of women of many backgrounds…But LADAMA is doing much more than creating songs together, these women are initiating and facilitating global workshops that inspire others to create their own music…(with) each member…putting her own personality, personal history, and musical talents on display with the intent of nurturing others’.Attending a concert means being an actual part of the music-making. And not only that, their ideas about the ability music has to change and bridge communities is actually working. LADAMA itself follow the infinitely inward folding complexity of a song by creating music which teaches us about how to teach music. This allows us to learn ourselves and pass along this skill.”
- Tom Tom Magazine Issue 27: Loud; Interview: "Building Community Through Sound. LADAMA Brings Sounds of the Americas Together to Affect Social Change"; September 14, 2016, link here.
“The quartet plays propulsive original music rooted in the folk traditions of their home countries, a kind of cross-continental musical exchange…The four members of LADAMA, it cannot be missed, are all women…while all four musicians share vocal duties in the band, their primary identities are as instrumentalists. Gonzalez is one of the foremost practitioners of the bandola llanera, a traditional Venezuelan instrument related to the mandolin. Serna is a percussionist capable of spellbinding solos on the tambor alegre, a Colombian hand drum. Klaus dazzles equally on the trap set and other drumable instruments, while Lucas is a guitarist of uncommon sensitivity known for her work with the Brooklyn art-pop duo Callers. When the four get together, the results are, at least figuratively speaking, electric.”
- The Artery, WBUR, Boston: "For Pan-American Band LADAMA, Empowering Other Women is the Ultimate Reward"; January 25, 2017, link here.
"Ladama, a Pan-Latin…supergroup of sorts…opened the evening with mix of upbeat folk-rock, a hint of tango and a couple of serpentine cumbias. The band’s not-so-secret weapon is Maria Fernanda Gonzalez, whose axe is the bandola llanera, which looks like a Mexican bajo sexto but sounds something like a baritone ukulele with more bite. Her fleet, flamencoish flurries on a handful of numbers made for some of the night’s most intense moments; otherwise, the band – including a couple of male ringers on accordion and bass, along with singer Sara Lucas, drummer Lara Klaus, conguera Daniela Serna and a violinist, kept a seamless bounce over beats from across South America, mirroring the band members’ diverse backgrounds.”
- New York Music Daily, "Three Nights in a Row at Drom: An Embarrassment of Riches"; January 8, 2017, link here.
“The group LADAMA, made up exclusively of women, took advantage of their Caribbean rhythms to transform the venue into a dance floor…”
“LADAMA…transported the audience for more than an hour long show, on a journey through the most outstanding Latin American rhythms, highlighting the performance of Maria Fernanda Gonzalez, who with her bandola llanera, played the fast paced ‘Pajarillo’ and the Venezuelan joropo.”
The Alumni Exchange Innovation Fund (AEIF) grant - First arts-based project to win, 2015
Augustine Foundation Grant, 2015
Creative Exchange Residency Award, National Performer’s Network, 2015
Brooklyn Arts Council Grant for Local Support, 2016
Recbeat Festival, Recife, Brazil, February 2016
Teatro Juares, Barquisimeto, Venezuela 2016
National Sawdust Residency, Brooklyn, NY, May 2016
Tours of Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and United States - 2016, 2017
The FADER premieres 'Porro Maracatu' video, the lead single off debut album. August 18, 2017
Six Degrees Records releases the self-titled debut album. September 8, 2017
ESPN hosts LADAMA as they perform live on Nacion ESPN: The Latino Experience. October 10, 2017
All Things Considered's Banning Eyre delivers a rave review of the debut album on NPR. January 2, 2018
Album hits #1 on iTunes Latin and Amazon Latin charts. January 3, 2018.
LADAMA delivers TED Talk “How music crosses cultures and empowers communities.” April 2018
Performance on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert. May 30, 2019
"What an incredible week we had with LADAMA! They were SO generous with their time, energy, and spirit. I had put together quite an intense schedule and they consistently came to the table with infectious enthusiasm. It was a real treat to see them inspire so many different communities from different backgrounds, age ranges, etc. They were such brilliant educators - the perfect fit for our first artist-in-residence. And they put on such an amazing show!"
-Adrienne Bryant Godwin, Director of Programming, George Mason University - October 7, 2019
LADAMA is an ensemble of women musicians from across the Americas who, as well as performing as a touring band, strive to engage youth in their respective communities in the process of music-making, composition and audio production through collaboration and performance workshops. They are Mafer Bandola (Venezuela), Lara Klaus (Brazil), Daniela Serna (Colombia) and Sara Lucas (U.S.). With rhythm and percussion driving their original compositions sung in Spanish, Portuguese and English they combine disparate, traditional roots music with pop. The result is a sonic experience through which we can view our future as a world that communicates across continents and cultures, with sound and story. LADAMA has performed at TED, the Skoll World Forum, on ESPN, and at dozens of prestigious venues and festivals around the world. In January 2018 they were featured on NPR's All Things Considered which praised their "irresistible spirit and universal appeal." Their self-titled debut album (released on Six Degrees Records, 2017,) reached #1 on both iTunes and Amazon's Latin Music Charts.
LADAMA is an ensemble of women from across the Americas who produce and perform original work while engaging youth in the act of music-making.