Ladama is a talented female ensemble featuring musicians from Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and the United States. The band’s self-titled debut album includes a captivating mix of soul and pop with rhythms and melodies from throughout South America and the Caribbean, sometimes mixing Colombian beats and Brazilian forms. Vocals are in Spanish, Portuguese and English, where the voices of Sara Lucas and Lara Klaus stand out. Ladama uses traditional musical instruments like the bandola llanera from the plains of Venezuela, tambor alegre from Colombia and a wide range of percussion instruments.
Personnel: Mafer Bandola [María Fernanda González] (Venezuela) on bandola llanera; Lara Klaus (Brazil) on vocals and percussion; Daniela Serna (Colombia) on vocals and tambor alegre; and Sara Lucas (United States of America) on vocals, classical guitar and electric guitar.
Guests: Nathan Koci on accordion; Pat Swoboda on acoustic and electric bass; Kyla-Rose Smith on violin; Alex Asher on trombone; cole Kamen-Green on trumpet; and Mohamed Araki on keyboards.
American band Zanzibar delivers a rhythmically powerful mix of Afro-Funk, Afro-Latin music and rock. The vocals by this San Francisco-based are in various languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French.
Personnel: Chris Robison on guitar and percussion; Kerry Wing on lead vocals, guitar and percussion; Eric Tabellion on bass, background vocals and percussion; Tim Hilborn on drums, percussion, trumpet, and vocals; Ricardo Molina on percussion and vocals; and David Hipshman on tenor saxophone and flute.
Juntos is the new album by a Chicago-based collective with rotating members named ¡ESSO! (El Sonido Sonic Octopus). The band’s sound crosses numerous musical boundaries. It’s a superb mix of Afro-Latin, funk, rock, jazz, Afrobeat, pop, reggaeton, ska, cumbia, and more.
The band features seductive rhythms and a creative brass section. On the vocals side ¡ESSO! features lead and background vocals in Spanish. There is also some less interesting, tired rapping thrown in.
The members of ¡ESSO! Afrojam Funkbeat are committed to social justice, performing for grassroots community organizations that support after-school, immigrant justice, and fair housing programs throughout Chicago and Illinois.
Personnel: Armando Pérez on guitar, bass, keyboards and vocals; Kevin Miller on saxophone; Dan Lieber on drums and percussion; Ezra Lange on bass; Diana Mosquera on vocals; Lessic Franko on percussion; Jess Anzaldúa on percussion; and Matthew Davis on trombone. Juntos also includes various guests.