Members: María Fernanda González (Mafer Bandola), Lara Klaus, Sara Lucas, Daniela Serna
Origin: Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, United States of America
Years Active: 2014 – present
LADAMA’s Daniela Serna succinctly summarized the group and its musical mission during their 2017 appearance on the Mountain Stage radio show. Serna stated, “We are LADAMA. We came from four different countries: from Brazil, from Colombia, Venezuela, and the United States. But we are here tonight not only to share music with you, but the social message behind our work and our music: we are activists, we are feminists, and we are fully committed to empower women and youth around our communities.” In the pursuit of their mission, LADAMA produces a wide array of work. This includes: composing music, releasing records, creating media content, performing concerts, and leading workshops that are focused on engaging with local youth via music performance in communities throughout South America and beyond.
The group is comprised of four women who are songwriters, composers, educators, activists, and musical virtuosos in their own right. Each member brings their unique cultural identity and expertise in a specific music and culture. With this dynamic combination, LADAMA has been described as having “a modern Pan-Latinx sound uniquely theirs.”
Formed in 2014, the members met when they were participating individually in the OneBeat fellowship program produced by U.S. State department’s Bureau of Cultural Affairs. Collectively, they enthusiastically embraced the event’s initiative to “nurture cross-genre collaboration.” Through this collaboration, the group has created music deeply rooted in Latin American musical traditions that has been routinely genre-defined as Latin Alternative.
All members of LADAMA sing and play multiple instruments in the group, but each member has a unique background and skill set that informs their contribution to the collective. Mafer Bandola is an award-winning Venezuelan bandola llanera (a stringed instrument similar to the mandolin) player. Lara Klaus is a master of traditional Brazilian drums and percussion. Sara Lucas is an accomplished and respected producer, songwriter, and guitarist from the United States. Daniela Serna is a skilled percussionist, noted composer from Colombia, and an acclaimed sound artist.
LADAMA’S self-titled debut album was released in 2017 to significant critical praise. Traditional genres referenced in the song’s included Cumbia, Maracatu, and Joropo. The group toured extensively and made numerous public appearances in conjunction with their community workshops and education outreach. LADAMA reached Number One on the Latin Music charts on both iTunes and Amazon Music.
Oye Mujer, LADAMA’s second album, was released in 2020. Brazilian producer Kassin worked closely with the group, and their frequent bassist/collaborator Pat Swoboda, in creating the record. According to the band, the album “channels female empowerment in the face of global crises, unprecedented climate destruction, and unjust immigration policies.”