Joyful Noise

Published 10:54 am Friday, May 12, 2017

Joyful Noise

For the past ten years the Como Mamas (l to r) Angelia Taylor, Della Daniels and Ester Mae Smith, have been sharing the word of God through gospel music with people all over the world in hopes of sharing the stories of The Bible with those who may have never heard them. Their newest album, “Move Upstairs,” is set to be released on May 19.
Photo provided

By Ashley Crutcher

It’s been almost ten years since the Como Mamas were “discovered” by record producer Michael Riley, starting them on an incredible journey to share something so beautiful and close to their hearts, the word of God.
Next week, their third gospel album will be released.
The three sisters, Ester Mae Smith, Angelia Taylor and Della Daniels, had been singing together since childhood at Mt. Mariah Church and followed in the musical traditions of their family.
The sisters’ adventure began when they met up with Riley, a represe

The Como Mama’s next album “Move Upstairs” drops May 19.

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ntative of Daptone Records, an independent label based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Riley was scouting for talent in the Como area, known as the center of Hill Country Blues, the fife and drum tradition, and soulful gospel music passed down through generations.
Della had been looking to promote, not her own music, but the work of a young family member who was a rap artist. She’d heard about Riley’s interest in Como music, and searched him out, which took a while.
When she finally had the opportunity to talk with Riley–and ask him to listen to her relative–the young rapper was delayed as he tried to get his group together.
“So I told him to get them together and I would stall,” Della remembered. “So I told Mr. Riley, ‘we sing too!’”
The sisters come from a long line of gifted musicians, including their grandfather, Miles Pratcher. a talented guitar player, songwriter and consummate entertainer who often played music on the porch with fiddlers and other guitar players including the great Mississippi Fred McDowell.
Riley listened to Della and Angelia sing and was reminded of their grandfather’s work, with which he was familiar.
Riley mentioned how he enjoyed their grandfather’s music and how he would love to hear some of it.
That’s when Della and Angelia decided to call on Esther, who had a copy of Pratcher’s album. Once Ester arrived, the sisters told Riley of Ester’s ability to sing as well.
After hearing the trio, Riley expressed the beauty in each of the sisters’ different tones as well as how their voices compliment each others.
“Without hesitation, they delivered a rendition of ‘Peace of Mind’ which gave us all chills,” Riley later wrote in a press release.
This was the beginning of the Como Mamas, as Riley named them. So far the group has released two albums with a third album, “Move Upstairs,” to be released on May 19.
Ester leads the group on most of the records with what Riley describes as her “powerful, raspy voice,” channeling the emotions of hard times into her singing.
“She is a bottomless well of spirituality and has a unique instrument that many in Como consider anointed by God,” wrote Riley.
Angelia is the youngest of the three. It is her deep, soothing voice that rounds out the Como Mamas’ sound.
According to Angelia, the real gospel will always abide if for no other reason than the fact that people still cherish the classic recordings of Aretha Franklin, Mahalia Jackson and Dorothy Love Coates that inspired her so much.
Della Daniels is an incredibly vivacious woman who had taken on the role of band leader. It has been her life-long dream to sing.
At age 18, Della wrote her first song which conveyed a heart breaking story of love and loss. Della was offered a chance to record her song in Nashville, but was unable to get her mother’s approval as her mother feared she would be taken advantage of.
“Now I’m living my dream and I can only pray that others are so blessed as I am to be able to live their dreams, too,” said Della.
The group is also a part of the Music Maker Relief Foundation, a non-profit founded to preserve the musical traditions of the South by directly supporting the musicians who make it, ensuring their voices will not be silenced by poverty and time.
Music Maker will give future generations access to their heritage through documentation and performance programs that build knowledge and appreciation of America’s musical traditions.
The Mamas have toured France, Germany and Canada, in addition to other venues in the U.S., and the ladies are scheduled to return to Europe for another tour after their album release.
While the sisters’ previous two albums focus on living for God, “Move Upstairs” pays tribute to the final ride home.
Their new album steps away from their original all-a cappella sound and includes a live band, which will tour with them later this year.
The Como Mamas have expressed their love for the Lord time and time again through the many songs they’ve recorded. Each has her own goal and purpose for why they do what they do.
“Every song we sing has a story of what God has done for us and it is our job as representatives for God to plant seeds and let people know what he has done for us,” said Della.
According to Ester, she sings to let people know that they are never alone as long as they have faith and trust in God.
“As we continue to sing, I can feel that power of the anointed and it seems like the Como Mamas have a part of that and that spiritual part is what touches man,” said Ester Mae.
Angelia described her purpose to create a peace of mind for those struggling through a hard time by singing their song, “Peace of Mind.”
“I try to sing to the depth of my soul with hopes that other people will feel it, too, because I know it’s reaching somebody,” said Angelia.
Della, Ester and Angelia have an unbreakable faith that these songs have the power to help and inspire people in their everyday lives.