The alternative collective LADAMA explores feminism and social activism in their second studio album, Oye Mujer, which they released on July 10.
The album is multilingual and multicultural. Of the 10 songs, two are in English, two are in Portuguese, and six are in Spanish, and the sounds are a combination of Latina American and Afro-Brazilian rhythms, like bolero, reggaeton and merengue.
LADAMA is a group made up of four women from different countries. There’s two drummers, Colombian Daniela Serna and Brazilian Lara Klaus, a Venezuelan bandola llanera player, María “Mafer” Bandola, and American vocalist and guitarist, Sara Lucas.
The group was born out of the need to inspire underprivileged youth.
When Serna met Mafer at a music camp in 2014, she told her about the many girls in poor areas of Latin America becoming pregnant at a very young age.
According to a new report from the United Nations, an estimated 15% of all pregnancies in Latin American occur in girls younger than 20 years old.
“She wanted to come up with something to counter that,” Serna told The Bulletin Time. “That seeing us with our instruments could be an example of a different reference and that they can say ‘well, my reality and my future does not have to be a mother, but it can be being a musician and traveling, alone.’”
With songs like “Misterio,” “Inmigrante,” and “Mar Rojo,” the group channels female empowerment in the face of global crises such as environmental destruction, a pandemic and harmful immigration policies.
Oye Mujer opens with “Misterio,” a tribute to female sexuality and self-love. Serna said that it’s common in the industry to hear songs about female sexuality, but they are almost always from the male perspective, and objectifying women’s bodies.
“[‘Misterio’] talks about this point of empowerment that we are having on our bodies and how that emancipation has to be translated into music,” she explained.
“Inmigrante” is a slow merengue song that forces the listener to really absorb the message that immigrants are “brave walkers.”
“Mar Rojo” combines punk sounds and cumbia and is easily the most intense song of the album. It speaks of the red blood of the cis and trans women that have been murdered.
“Yo no temo, no estoy presa, soy del viento. Soy el nido, la guardia de la vida. Le doy ala, le doy fuego a mis ideas. Vuelvo a vos, a nuestro cuerpo, a nuestro templo,” are some of the lyrics.
(I am not afraid, I am not a prisoner, I am of the wind. I am the nest, the lair of life. I give it wings, I give fire to my ideas. I come back to you, to our body, to our temple.)
Communities throughout Latin America have been adopting feminism and other tactics to speak up against oppression. LADAMA’s song “Cada Uno” promotes revolutionary ideas to grow unity.
“Each of us in an expression of the greater whole,” Serna sings in part of the song.
“Oye Mujer is a production to claim ownership over our bodies, over our rights. It is an invitation to allow ourselves to feel collectively, to express ourselves as humanity, and to support and celebrate the existing struggles for an inclusive and diverse future,” Serna told Revista DC.
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