These Mammas Have Got Soul

Women united (and men joined in as well) as Mamma Soul took to the stage in the hip and happening Bar El Clan in Bellavista on March 25, 2010, marking another successful night for the “Festival de la Mujer, Cóctel de Femme 2010.”

Photo by Carolina Bastias
Photo by Carolina Bastias

The entire month of March was dedicated to women, with a variety of female acts hosted by Bar El Clan as part of the “Festival de la Mujer, Cóctel de Femme 2010.” Thursday, March 25th, was the night for the sisters of soul, Natalie Santibañez (bass), Fernanda Fuentes (drums), Michèle Espinoza (lead guitar and vocals), Jeannette Pualuan (lead vocals) and Tazya Brown (rap), a.k.a. Mamma Soul.

Photo by Carolina Bastias
Photo by Carolina Bastias

At 12.30 a.m. these four classy women took to the stage. Armed with instruments in hand and wine glasses on amps, they set out to wow, animate and energize the crowd under the twinkling lights of the intimate bar. The crowd seemed to double in size as everyone left the comfort of their seats as soon as the first beat was struck, chord was plucked and word resonated.

From the start it was clear that these four foxy ladies were no newcomers to the scene. In a 12-year span together as a band, they’ve achieved a title of Best Female Band (Radio Zero, 2000), a celebrated first record and their song “Tabu” featuring in the hit Chilean series, “Mujeres de Lujo.” The depth of the beautiful harmonies composed in each song proves how tight and talented the band really is.

To describe the sound of Mamma Soul would almost require the creation of a new genre. Take a pinch of rhythm and blues, a spoonful of hip hop, a dollop of rap, a drop of reggae, shake in some funk, don’t forget the Afro American influences and of course a hearty helping of soul. Finally, harmonize them all together and I’m afraid you still won’t be close to achieving the delicious sounds that exude from the women of Mamma Soul.

The main themes in their music are just as difficult to define. “The themes are very diverse,” commented Michelle Espinoza, the band’s guitarist and vocalist. “Apart from being women in Chile in this day and age, we write about what we’ve lived, what we haven’t lived, what we would like to live and wouldn’t like to live.

Photo by Carolina Bastias
Photo by Carolina Bastias

Most of all we focus on deeper feelings such as life, happiness, the will to be young again and the Latin American identity. Being a woman is equally present but it isn’t an issue at the forefront, it’s our way of confronting a point of view. The view that we are women, singing about these themes.”

With a twelve-song set list, the audience was able to experience the whole range of eclectic sounds that Mamma Soul brings to the stage. The song “Consequencias” started off the night. The warm tones of both guitar and vocals of lead guitarist Michelle Espinoza filled the bar, with Jeannette Pualuan’s voice embellished in sexy alto tones, whilst Natalie Santibanez on bass added the funky, heavy bass and Fernanda Fuentes belted out a rhythm on drums which held the whole song together.

During the night, other hits such as “Tabu” and “Raza” marked the set, including their version of the song, “Estrechez de Corazon,” by “Los Prisioneros” which cranked up the spirits of the band and audience yet another notch.

The end of the night of female force culminated in the band's most famous song, “Fe,” from their award-winning disc, similarly titled Fe (2001). For this Tazya Brown took to the stage and added even more funk to the already funky band as she rapped her heart out for the climax to the show.

Thanks to Mamma Soul and other female acts during the month of March, the “Festival de la Mujer” has been an overall success; not only by successfully turning the spotlight on many female acts, but also by donating 100% of the profit from door entries of the first week of the festival to support the victims of the recent earthquake in Chile.

Photo by Carolina Bastias
Photo by Carolina Bastias

When asked about their experience taking part in something as special as “El VI Festival de la Mujer,” the overriding response was that of excitement and gratitude. “Amazing, when we were invited we accepted straight away. To take part in an event such as the ‘Festival de la Mujer’ is like, WOW. ¡En este sentido nos prendemos con agua! (In this sense, we easily become excited)"

Most importantly, the concept of Bar El Clan as described by General Director Carolina Caselli has been “to create instances where one can encounter, share, debate, reflect, inform and support the female talent in the arts today.” This is something that Mamma Soul is very grateful for.

“We are fortunate as a band to count on many friends, some of whom we know, others not so much and it’s great at each gig to see new people along with fans from years ago. We are lucky to be able to count on the affection and support of an audience of different generations.”

In the case of Mamma Soul, the complex symphony of intense voices carried along by a constant, deep bass line, drums that at once make your feet move and the funky sound of the guitar that gives the music the oomph it needs, smoothly blend together to create a simple and united sound.

Mamma Soul
http://www.myspace.com/mammasoulchile
mammasoul.chile@gmail.com

Bar El Clan
Bombero Nuñez #385,
Barrio Bellavista
Santiago
http://www.elclan.cl/
+56 2 735 3655

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