Totó La Momposina has become a legend worldwide for her work with traditional music from the Caribbean coast of Colombia. As a singer, dancer and teacher she embodies that fertile place where Colombia’s African, Indigenous Indian and Spanish cultures mingle to create a unique musical tradition. Now in her 70s she continues to record, perform and collaborate, developing the music she loves. Totó’s music has been sampled and remixed by countless DJs and producers from Timbaland to Michel Cleis - indeed the trance-like grooves of her tambores and the majesty of her voice continue to be an irresistible formula.
The Garabato Sessions bring influences from Bristol to Bogotá, with new remixes of Totó’s classic "Adios Fulana”. DJ, musician and remixer, Rob Smith (RSD), best known for making and playing breakbeat, drum & bass and dubstep, and as half of the duo Smith & Mighty (with Ray Mighty) provides the Bristol connection with his remixes. Bogotá-based Richard Blair – from the band Sidestepper – retains the earthy Colombian sound of the traditional African-influenced drums and adds his own dub twist.
"Adios Fulana" is a garabato - a rhythm which captures the flavour of Colombian carnival where, during a street procession, many different rhythms at one time crowd the atmosphere. The song tells of the thoughts of a man transfixed by the beauty of a woman he has seen passing by.
“Adios Fulana” is taken from Tambolero. Released in June 2015, the album is a recreation of La Candela Viva, a classic record from 1993, and Totó’s most successful album worldwide that introduced many, including Colombians, to this music for the first time. The re-working involved selecting additional material from the original sessions, adding some parts (including Totó’s grandchildren) and remixing the whole thing to create a gloriously strong, magical record.
“Over the last decade or so an increasing amount of DJs and producers have been sampling Totó’s music and we decided it was time to commission some of our own. I turned to old colleagues - Rob Smith who always comes through with unique mixes to test out the bass bins with and, from a different perspective, Richard Blair who has been doing innovative work with Latin music for many years. They both felt the powerful soul of Totó and the force of her drummers giving us new grooves and spaces to appreciate her music with.” JOHN HOLLIS
“I love the energy and ‘upfulness’ of the original track and wanted to retain the percussive dynamics in the first remix while adding a ’dub’ feel even tho it’s not a reggae track. The Amen mix came about as an offshoot really, I wanted to hear Toto on a different kind of rhythm and built the mix around her. It’s like she’s challenging the beats and even tho the Amen break is pushing back, she keeps it in check!” ROB SMITH
“Paulino Salgado, aka Batata was a legendary hand drummer here in Colombia. His sound was really the first call to come down here, I heard him in the live session at Real World that this tune comes from and it changed things forever. So on this mix I wanted to focus on him. I didn't loop him or even put the tune 'on the grid', just did a bit of old school 'tape' editing - chopping together one or two minute sections that had the best groove. Then I played the bass part to him, trying to lock into his remarkable feel and groove. His timing is really quite amazing, he doesn't vary much more than a point or two during the whole tune, he had that internal metronome that the best drummers have, keeping the dancefloor moving steady. In keeping with the bass and drum culture this is firmly part of, the final ingredient in the mix was a bit of dub, to take the tune into that spacey place.” RICHARD BLAIR
“My music is ancestral music, it comes from a natural place. Since we released the Real World album over 20 years ago it has been interesting for me to learn that young people like to dance to my music in clubs and then that they wanted to make new creations for themselves inspired by what I and my drummers do. Provided they are respectful and understand that this is music of identity and culture the roots will always shine through. Ours is music for every generation all over the world and unity is strength!” TOTO LA MOMPOSINA