LADAMA is an ensemble of women musicians from across the Americas who, as well as performing as a touring band, strive to engage youth in their respective communities in the process of music-making, dancing, and composition through collaboration and performance workshops. They are Mafer Bandola (bandola llanera), Lara Klaus (percussion, drums), Daniela Serna (percussion) and Sara Lucas (voice, guitar). Together they combine the rhythms and traditional instrumentation of frevo and maracatu from Pernambuco, Brazil; joropo songs from the high plains of Venezuela; cumbia, gaita and champeta from the Colombian coast and contemporary strains of American pop and jazz. Members of LADAMA specialize in, among other instruments, the bandola llanera from Venezuela, the tambor alegre from Colombia, and the pandeiro and zabumba from Northeast Brazil. Their performances include original compositions and traditional songs sung in Spanish, Portuguese and English combining disparate elements into a cohesive whole. The result is a sonic experience through which we can view our future as a world that communicates across continents and cultures, with sound and story, that moves audiences to dance and groove.
The women of LADAMA met during OneBeat, a fellowship curated by Found Sound Nation and produced by the State Department’s Bureau for Cultural Affairs. OneBeat brings musicians from around the world to focus on collaboration-based compositions and social engagement as ways to promote cultural diplomacy. In order to continue their work together, LADAMA formed as a way to reach youth and empower women through music making in South America. As activists, educators, producers and performers in their respective countries, they create deeper roots within their own communities as a music ensemble while weaving a larger, global web. Their performances have been called "transformative" and "transporting", and the audience is often asked to participate.
In the spring of 2015, LADAMA was awarded a $25,000 grant from The Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund through the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to complete a two-month tour through South America. They were the first arts-based project to receive this award for grass-roots organizing on a global scale As a result they spent all of February and March in Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela giving workshops to youth in an improvisatory and collaboration based setting. Additionally, they held free performances for the public and residencies in each country to develop original work as a music ensemble. They have worked in partnership with Paco do Frevo in Recife, Brazil, Casa B in Bogotá, Colombia and Found Sound Nation in Brooklyn, New York.
Recent engagements include National Sawdust in Brooklyn, NY, RecBeat Festival in Recife, Brazil, Teatro Juares in Barquisimeto, Venezuela and Museo Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia.