Berea College welcomes the public and campus community to this week’s convocation program featuring the music of The Como Mama’s on Thursday, October 12th, at 8pm. This event, to be held in Phelps Stokes Chapel, is a part of the Stephenson Memorial Concert Series and is free and open to the public.
Three soulful singers—Ester Mae Wilbourn and sisters Angela Taylor and Della Daniels—comprise this female gospel trio from Como, Mississippi. These talented women seamlessly weave elements of gospel music from both the past and present.
In the words of Gabriel Roth, the label founder, “Whether you’re talking about hip-hop, country, western, blues or Mozart, all music tries to do the same basic thing: put feeling into sound. The Como Mamas do that just about as close to perfect as you can.”
The Como Mamas grew up on the outskirts of Como, Mississippi during a time when there was not much to do except for chores, play games, and listen to talented artists such as Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, and others on the radio. On Sundays, when R&B and blues were not allowed, the radio would be tuned instead to the gospel station. Influenced by the radio, the Como Mamas were always singing, whether in the church, their homes, or within the community.
“That’s how we learned the old songs,” said Wilbourn. “We sang traditional songs, as children, in the church with those elders.”
The vocal abilities of all three women have the power to stand alone without the accompaniment of musical instruments. Daptone Records discovered this rare talent and made them part of their label. Since being signed, the Como Mamas have released two albums, Get an Understanding and Move Upstairs, both of which showcased the rare talents of these women and became crowd favorites. The Como Mamas have the ability to transport their audience to a Southern Baptist Church early on a Sunday morning through Southern classics such as, I Know It Was the Blood, God is Good to Me, and I Know I’ve Been Changed.
The convocation events, which are provided to both the campus and public communities, are a significant part of a student’s educational experience at Berea College. See https://www.berea.edu/convocations for the schedule of all convocations this academic year.