"Mother of Song" is a collaboration between the UK's Kibir La Amlak and Iber Jose Gomez, a famed Colombian marimba player. It is a remarkable coincidence that 11 October 2021 has become "Indigenous People's Day" in the USA and the background to this song is a story of one such struggle.
Located in East Africa, south of Lake Victoria or Nam Lolwe, Nalubaale or Nyanza, to use some of the pre-colonial names of the waters, the Wakambi people, speak of ‘Queen Marimba’ who is credited as being the ‘Mother of all Song' and creator of countless instruments.
In 2018, whilst touring in Bogota, Colombia with El Gran Latido, Kibir La Amlak recorded Iber Jose Gomez, a renowned Marimba player from the Colombian Pacific Coast. Together they created this genre bending piece of music 'Mother of Song (Queen Marimba)'. A blend of Afro-Colombian melody with a UK style digi-dub drum and bassline.
The journey of this instrument from the shores of Africa to the Americas is a journey that is testament to - the determination to hold onto the memories of your roots against all odds. Recorded in Bogota, Colombia, the Marimbas was carried across the Atlantic Ocean in the memories of the Africans that were stolen, stripped of language, traditions and cultures and sold as slaves. Yet despite these atrocities - the strength, beauty and power of Africa could never depart. The Marimba was recreated from memory and served as an unbreakable thread between the diaspora and the continent.
In 2019, the 'Humanitarian Refuge for Life' was staged in Bogota. Feeling as though their freedom and life itself was hanging by a thread, over 3,000 social leaders from all regions of Colombia gathered to take a stand against systemic violence against; African descendants, indigenous people and women - throughout Columbia. El Gran Latido Sound System provided the amplification and musical backdrop for this occasion and 'Mother of Song' was given its first musical airing. The response was powerful and the combination of the traditional Marimba melody with the militancy of the roots reggae drum and bass elevated the spirit of protest.
To honour this story and amplify the cause, an additional version, entitled “El Pueblo No Se Rinde Carajo” has been made featuring a speech from Diego Fernando Porto Carrero, highlighting the ongoing plight of black and indigenous people in Columbia from slavery times up until this present day.