Legendary Afro-Caribbean singer and dancer Totó La Momposina, whose career has centered on bringing traditional African-derived Colombian music to audiences around the world, is scheduled to perform at the 13th annual Chase Latino Cultural Festival, and 11-day music, film, and performance fest at Queens Theater in the Park, which starts July 30.
Totó La Monposina was born into a family of musicians in Monpós, on the Magdalena River, in Colombia, and started performing at 12, almost six decades ago, with a group headed by her mother. Her African-rooted cumbias and porros, what she calls “música de la identidad” (identity music), blend traditional pre-Columbian flutes known as gaitas with the tiple, a guitar slightly smaller than the acoustic ones, and the drums brought by slaves. “Where there is common people’s music there’s always the tendency by the institutions and even the social structure to hide the música de la identidad,” La Momposina said, explaining her pioneering role with Colombia’s Afro-Caribbean sounds. “The drums were hidden n the attics of all the homes on the Caribbean coast, and I did the work of bringing out those drums.”
She has released eight CDs, two this year — “La Bodega” and a compilation album, “Evolución: 20 Años de Totó La Momposina.”
Her concert is scheduled for August 7.