Tuesday, June 15, 2010 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
El Barrio/East Harlem – Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts & the Raices Latin Music Museum are pleased to host A Conversation with Legendary Colombian Vocalist Toto la Momposina moderated by pianist/composer Pablo Mayor on Tuesday, June 15th at 5:00 pm in the Third Floor Theater located at One East 104th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Admission is $10. Pablo Mayor is the founder and Artistic Director of the annual Encuentro Festival of Colombian Musicians in New York City scheduled for June 18 and 19, 2010 at El Museo del Barrio.
******Seating for A Conversation with Toto is limited, to reserve a seat please contact: Pablo Mayor at 917-655-1927, or Anna Povich de Mayor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this informal dialogue, Columbia’s foremost vocalist will discuss her career, and her music which brings together the music of three races, indigenous porro, puya and gaita with Afro-Latin cumbia, mapale and sexteto. Toto, whose given name is Sonia Bazanta Vides was born in the northern Colombian village of Talaigua, in the island of Mompos. As its name suggests, Talaigua was once an Indigenous land. The Spanish invasion five hundred years ago forced the population inland. “The music I play has its roots in mixed race,” she explains. “The flutes are pre-Columbian, the drums of course are from Africa, and the guitar from the conquisadors.” However, she points out that the Spanish guitar actually has its roots in Moorish Africa.
“However, I don’t think of it as `folklore’,” adds Toto. “To me, folklore means something that is dead, in a museum. Traditional music, music from the old days is alive.” There probably isn’t a single person who has done more to revitalize the music of Northern Colombia’s shores. In 1993, she recorded the landmark album, “La Candela Viva” for Peter Gabriel’s RealWorld label and ever since has been busy performing at the world’s top music festivals.
She is a rare performer whose energetic and passionate recordings capture the energy of her live performances. With a fiery voice and a remarkable spontaneous wit, whether she is leading flute and percussion driven porros or brass section and guitar led Afro-Latin cumbias and sextetos, Toto La Momposina uses her torrid vocal power to make sure that there her audience is out of their seats and onto the dance floor, ready to get a taste of some of the most evocative music on the planet.
“We are excited to be able to partner with long time faculty member Pablo Mayor, on this historic conversation with one of Columbia’s foremost artists,” said Nina Olson, Director of External Affairs. Our focus on Afro-Caribbean music dovetails so perfectly with that of Columbia as many of Totoa la Momposina’s songs sound a bit Cuban, it is for good reason.” Through the 19th century, there were huge waves of Cuban immigration along the northern Caribbean Colombian shores near Baranquilla. These slaves brought with them Cuban music, which led to the development of the sexteto, Colombia’s cousin to Cuba’s son. In addition, while Salsa was born among Puerto Ricans, Cubans and Dominicans in New York City it spread to Colombia. Native salsa groups like Fruko y sus Tesos and labels that recorded them like Discos Fuentes emerged. Artists like Joe Arroyo followed, inventing a distinctively Colombian form of salsa.
Nina Gale Olson
Director of External Affairs