The Kennedy Center

The Como Mamas


The Como Mamas were “accidentally” discovered in 2005 by American documentary maker Michael Reilly, who had embarked on a journey down south with the intention to create a film about local musicians. Through a series of unexpected, yet fortunate, events Reilly was led to Como, Mississippi, and ultimately to the table of Angela Taylor where she, her sister Della Daniels, and long-time friend Ester Mae Smith performed an a cappella rendition of Peace of Mind. It was this moment that inspired Michael to return to Como with proper recording equipment, and much like what Alan Lomax had done decades before, document some of the most honest, soulful music to ever be tracked to tape.

The first volume of recordings, 2008’s Como Now featured the Como Mamas, as well as several other local groups delivering heart stopping a cappella renditions of songs they cherished. Though the Como Mama’s remained skeptical that anyone would want to hear them singing an entire record of a cappella gospel, Daptone Records is proud to present Get an Understanding, 13 songs of unadulterated gospel greatness. There are only three instruments on this recording: The powerful, raspy voice of Ester Mae Smith, the deep soothing voice of Angela Taylor, and the energetic, spirited vocals of Della Daniels. There are no other musicians on this recording, yet the harmonies the Como Mamas create are so powerful, musical accompaniment is not missed. Recorded on a sweltering morning in the humble wood structure that is Mt. Mariah church, this record is sure to mirror that heat throughout your body and soul. Don’t be fooled by the term Gospel, for this record will move everyone from the pious Pastor to the staunchest atheist. The Como Mamas believe whole-heartedly that these songs have the power to help and inspire people in their everyday lives. As Della put it “We just want folks to listen and get an understanding.”

Watch Past Performances

Video 1/11/2014: The Como Mamas / Grace & Tony

In a split bill, the trio of three lifelong gospel singers from the small town of Como, Mississippi, dazzles with powerful harmonies followed by the Tennessee-based husband-and wife duo with Americana/bluegrass music dubbed “punkgrass,” featuring songs from their new debut album, November.

The Como Mamas