Opening with a brassy, but sentimental horn sound on “Manita Uribe,” the first track of La Bodega bursts into a rhythmic and exuberant potpourri of singing, guitar, and percussion accompanied throughout by a horn section that complements and leavens the sheer joy that comes through on this song. While listening to this album, I was momentarily transported from the wintry Illinois landscape to more tropical climes. The second track, “Margarita,” features Andean/Indian gaita flutes as a backdrop to the chorus and rhythmic drumming that seem to beckon one into a celebratory mood.
If you’re looking for a mood altering experience from your music, La Bodega is just the ticket. Although Totó la Momposina is from Columbia, the third track “Sueño Españo” reminded me of a band you might hear in a Mexican restaurant that stops by your table to serenade you and your dining partner. In “Fidelina,” a strong drum accompaniment is the backdrop for Totó’s strong and feisty singing along with the ever-present brass accompaniment. This is foot tapping, rousing music and reminds us that we’re meant to participate fully in life, not just be passive observers.
La Bodega has been described as “mixed indigenous Columbian and Afro-Latin.” The genre may be less familiar and accessible to listeners than the more familiar urban Latin pop sound that has garnered a worldwide following in the past few decades, but it creates a unique listening experience.
Totó la Momposina is one of the best known singers of this genre. She is a fourth-generation musician from the village of Tallaigua, which is located on the island of Momos, the inspiration for her name. La Bodega would make a great backdrop for a dinner party or any kind of social gathering where you want to lighten the mood and provide a festive and relaxing atmosphere for your guests. If you’re not the party giving type, but have a passion and interest for diverse musical traditions, this is an album that you will want to add to your collection.
Review by Gita Tewari