Totó celebrates 25th anniversary of seminal album ‘La Candela Viva’ with new EP

Fuego EP cover.jpg

Totó La Momposina, the original "Queen of Cumbia”, has had a career spanning almost

60 years and continues to perform all around the world at the age of 78. The singer reached international recognition in the early nineties when she released the classic album La Candela Viva on Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records.

Working with legendary pop/rock producer Phil Ramone (Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan), Totó la Momposina y sus Tambores delivered a live performance at Real World Studios as part of Peter Gabriel’s famous Recording Week project, which brought together singers and musicians from all over the world to record and collaborate together. The resulting album, which was completed in 1992 with producers John Hollis, Richard Blair and Marco Vinicio Oyaga, is still heralded as the Colombian singer’s most vital work, including iconic songs such as ‘El Pescador’, ‘La Candela Viva’and ‘Curura’.

Totó’s life has been dedicated to representing the music of Colombia’s Caribbean coastline, where African, Indigenous Indian and Spanish cultures mingle to create a unique musical tradition. Her music, driven by voices, flute and percussion, presents three distinct musical styles — Tambores,Sextetos and Gaitas. Totó’s records have become firm favourites in the hip-hop and EDM scenes, being routinely sampled by heavy-weights such as Timbaland, Michel Kleis, Manu Chao and most recently Jay-Z, who sampled ‘La Verdolaga’ on his 2017 Grammy nominated album


The new EP, Fuego, features four previously unreleased songs from the original 1991/1992 sessions, which were discovered in 2015 when the original master tapes were restored and digitally remastered.

“She's a majestic, powerful and versatile singer ...with sturdy Spanish-influenced ballads and dance songs.” THE GUARDIAN

“An ingenious, and justified, remastering project.” ★★★★★ SONGLINES (UK)

Totó la Momposina – Fuego




Toto Releases Oye Manita, the third in her retrospective series of albums.

Oye Manita

Totó la Momposina arrived in Paris in 1979 as a refugee with no French, no money and no abode. A theatre company took her under it’s wing and it wasn’t long before she was travelling through Provence with this group of mime artists, street performers and musicians, along with their hot-air balloon, double-decker bus, merry-go-round and mobile cinema. Totó’s formidable voice, charisma and songs were an instant success and France became a launch-pad for her career.

This album tells the story of Totó’s endearing relationship with France that continues to evolve today. The track list features the first recordings Totó made in Paris in the 1980s and cover her career until the present day, including previously unreleased songs. This is a quality package with beautiful artwork, ample sleeve notes and photos from the past and present.

The retrospective series … TAMBOLERO / OYE MANITA / LA VERDOLAGA

These releases are part of a retrospective series telling the (amazing) stories of Totó’s life and travels to date … a way of celebrating her career so far using notes, artwork and photos.

Chapter 1. Tambolero. 2015. Real World. This told the story of Totó’s relationship with England - along with the wider context of her life and career. It recreated the original La Candela Viva album - adding recordings and mixing everything afresh … effectively becoming a new record.

Chapter 2. Oye Manita. 2018. Astar Artes Recordings. This album tells the story of Totó’s relationship with France going back to the 1970s. Again it is a quality package with beautiful artwork, ample sleeve notes and photos from the past and present. The track list features the first recordings Totó made in Paris in the 1980s and cover her career until the present day, including previously unreleased songs.

La Verdolaga. 2018. Astar Artes. The vinyl is a bridge between the two. Here both chapters meet as the collections work in parallel and the stories with France and England inter-relate. On side A tracks from Real World’s Tambolero (inc an unreleased track recorded last year) and side B tracks from Oye Manita.

There is a nod here also to the extraordinary influence Totó’s music has had on dance music over the last decade, especially House and Hip-hop. Producers continue to be inspired by her soulful delivery and the hypnotic groove of her tambores and flutes - La Verdolaga being one of the most popular songs. One of the most recent samples was used by Jay-Z on his last album 4:44.

Toto Features On New Jay Z album

A hefty sample of our Totó appears on the physical version of Jay-Z’s 4:44 featuring a loop of vocals from La Verdolaga on the track We Family. As Totó says ‘la musica ancestral’ is irresistible!

Toto releases "Tambolero"

totobanner We are proud to announce the release of a new album by Toto la Momposina.


Click here to buy the album and find more information on this release.

A re-creation and re-imagining of the classic 1993 album ‘La Candela Viva’.

"You don’t normally get the chance to go back in time and recreate an album. Building on a classic project that began 24 years ago is a challenge and a delight!" John Hollis, producer.

An invitation to perform at the WOMAD Festival led to Totó’s participation in the first Real World Recording Week and ultimately to the recording of the songs – with legendary American producer Phil Ramone at the controls in 1991 and English producer John Hollis for the follow-up sessions in 1992 – that would become La Candela Viva. The international success of La Candela Viva, and the following two albums Carmelina 1995 and Pacantó 1999 (MTM/Colombia), would ignite Totó’s career in Colombia and finally see her recognized as a star in her own country. The music has continued to endure, including being routinely sampled by the world of dance and hip-hop (Michel Cleis, Da R3volution and Timbaland, to name but a few).

It was during the search for the original master tapes to find the parts for a Michel Cleis dance track that producer (and now son-in-law of Totó) John Hollis discovered something rather remarkable. Amongst the original 2” master tapes was a treasure trove of material: some 40 takes of 20 different songs. Material all involved had forgotten existed, until then. Not only was there a wealth of recorded material from the La Candela Viva sessions that didn’t make the original album there were also a number of previously unreleased songs too.

To restore the analogue tapes, which would otherwise slowly deteriorate, the first job was to bake them (literally!) to remove any moisture that had accumulated, making them playable again. The recordings could then be digitised to work with modern technology. A process of reassessing all the different versions and new songs, re-editing and over-dubbing began. "At this point it occurred to me that Totó’s granddaughters would add a nice texture to some of the chorus lines,” explains John. Totó happily agreed: “Claro, ellos son mis choristas [of course, they are my backing singers].” Soon after, Maria del Mar and Oriana Melissa entered The Wood Room at Real World Studios, the very same space in which Totó and her band performed their set live 23 years earlier; Maria was present, a toddler at the time, and Oriana hadn’t been born. “It was a surreal moment and they delivered their parts beautifully,” adds John.

The result is Tambolero. More than just a re-release of La Candela Viva it is a genuine re-appraisal and re-imagining of the original. Tambolero is in effect a new album and one in which Totó La Momposina continues to reflect the experience of her native Colombia through her life and music. The two things are intertwined: the story of Totó La Momposina is truly the story of modern Colombia. It has also become a celebration of Totó’s professional career, which will soon reach a landmark 60 years – six decades dedicated to preserving, researching and developing an ancestral tradition, the identity of a people, passed down through the generations. This album is part of the REAL WORLD GOLD series of reissues.

Toto la Momposina – Curura Remix Competition

Curura Remix Competition Toto’s music has been sampled in many well known dance and hip hop tracks over the years, including tracks by Michel Cleis and Timbaland. Now, it’s your turn!

In advance of the release of Toto’s new album ‘Tambolero’ we are running a remix competition that allows you download the stems to Toto’s classic track ‘Curura’ so you can do your own remix. The winner will win a pair of Bowers & Wilkins headphones. Competition closes 17 July.

For full details and T&Cs go to The rest, is up to you! Good luck

Real World release unseen Toto video

Totó La Momposina went to Real World Studios in August 1991 to begin recording what would prove to be her most important album, now being re-released on Real World Records as ‘Tambolero’. In this never before seen footage from the original recording session, Totó delivers an outstanding live performance of El Pescador, surrounded by friends and guests. The soundtrack has been restored and remixed and features as a track on the new album.

Pre order “Tambolero" from iTunes and download 'El Pescador’ instantly: iTunes -

Also available via: iTunes - Amazon - Google Play -

Toto La Momposina Announces European Tour 2014

LatestToto will be touring Europe in February 2014 with her full band.

The dates are:

2014-02-14    RASA        UTRECHT  
2014-02-16    GROUNDS        ROTTERDAM   
2014-02-18    KONZERTHAUS         DORTMUND 
2014-02-19    KONZERTHAUS         BERLIN  
2014-02-20    BRUCKNERHAUS        LINZ   
2014-02-22    ELBPHILHARMONIE        HAMBURG  
2014-02-27    ROCKSTORE        MONTPELLIER 
2014-02-28    SALA APOLO        BARCELONA

Go to the events page for more ticket details

Toto La Momposina to be honoured with The Latin Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award

toto_new_smile[2]Congratulations to Totó who is to be honored with The Latin Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award.

She will be acknowledged at a special invitation-only ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas as part of the weeklong 14th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards® celebration.

"It is with great pride that we announce this year's honorees, who not only epitomize the essence of true masters of their craft and genre, but represent the global musical spectrum that encompasses the Latin community at large," said Gabriel Abaroa Jr., President/CEO of The Latin Recording Academy. "We continue to be humbled by their contributions to the musical legacy of the Latin world, and celebrate and honor their accomplishments and the talent that they have graciously shared with us over the decades, which will continue to endure for generations to come."

Toto La Momposina Announces European Dates

Toto La Momposina has announced the following dates as her European tour this summner.

25 May Barcelona sala Barts
28 May Rabat-Marruecos Festival Mawazine
1 June Cologne Festival Summerstage
2 June Amsterdam NSJclub
5 June Bern Mühle Hunziken
8 June Goteborg Festival Clandestino
14 June Milan Festival Latinoamericando
16 June Toulouse Festival Rio Loco

Toto track El Pescador for Womad 30th Anniversary release on Real World

We are honoured to announce that Toto's track El Pecador has been chosen for the WOMAD 30th anniversary celebration CD. This album is a celebration of the wonderful Real World artists who have performed at WOMAD over the years. The relationship between WOMAD and Real World Records was apparent from day one and almost all of Real World's roster have subsequently trod WOMAD's boards at some point. Quite a few, like Toto have done so many times. This 30-track tribute is an assembly of those Real World artists who've been most closely connected with the festival over the last three decades and we are proud to be a part of it!

Toto announces European Tour

15 Julio, Stuttgart, Sommerfestival der Kulturen
16 Julio, Assago, Latinoamericando Festival
17 Julio, Munich, Club Ampere
20 Julio, Koblenz, Horizonte Weltkultur festival
21 Julio , Berlin, Wassermusik Summer Open Air Festival
22 Julio, Malmo, Sommerscene
23 Julio, Estocolmo , Sodra Teatern
26 Julio, Madrid , Salsa y Latín Jazz Festival
28 Julio , Vic Fesenzac, Tempo Latino Festival

Única presentación en España en el marco del Salsa y Latín Jazz Festival,
compartiendo cartel junto a Rubén Blades y Calle13,
el 26 de Julio en el Madrid Arena .
“Algo que tengo muy claro en cuanto mi herencia musical es que la música es como el hombre: Debe crecer y no quedarse en un museo o en lamentaciones”.
Sonia Bazanta Vides tiene una sonrisa sincera, contagiante y una mirada limpia llena de espiritualidad, de amor por la música tradicional y por la cultura colombiana.  Totó La Momposina, como se le conoce artísticamente, tiene una energía desbordante en su potente voz, con la que ha hecho vibrar a millones de espectadores desde hace ya 50 años, tiempo en el que se ha consolidado como la pionera y mayor representante de la música tradicional de Colombia en el mundo.
Totó y sus músicos trabajan en recuperar, mezclar y crear nuevas expresiones de la música tradicional, a través de la mezcla de instrumentos y sentimientos de las diferentes regiones del país en un sonido, en un solo canto de identidad cultural colombiana. Aún hoy ella, es la inspiración para músicos, intérpretes y diversos artistas que llevan como ella, la voz de nuestro país al resto del mundo.

Totó La Momposina, nombrada "Ciudadana andina honorífica"

Totó La Momposina fue nombrada "Ciudadana andina honorífica" de la Comunidad Andina (CAN) "en reconocimiento a su trayectoria artística y su aporte al fortalecimiento de la identidad cultural regional", informó el organismo integrador.

La condecoración fue otorgada el viernes en la sede de la secretaría general de la CAN en Lima, en una ceremonia en la que participaron la ministra consejera de la embajada de Colombia en Perú, Estela Luz Sotelo; el director general de la Secretaría General de la CAN, Santiago Cembrano, y el secretario general de la CAN, Adalid Contreras.

Totó la Momposina, cuyo nombre real es Sonia Bazanta Vides, reconoció "la virtud del arte en general y la música en particular de unir a los seres humanos y despertar sus virtudes".

Cembrano manifestó, por su parte, que la cantante colombiana "ha realizado un importantísimo aporte a la divulgación de los ritmos, instrumentos y elementos autóctonos de la música colombiana, en especial la de sus zonas costeras".

"Nosotros queremos seguir uniendo a cuatro países hermanos (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador y Perú) entre sí y con el resto de América Latina, generando posibilidades para el progreso y el desarrollo, y usted ya ha logrado unirnos a través de la música y sus interpretaciones", le dijo Cembrano.

Totó La Momposina llegó Lima para participar en el concierto "Festival de los 7 mares", en el que también se presentará el franco-español Manu Chao y los nacionales Bareto, La Sarita y Sabor y control.