ABOUT IRKA MATEO (CONTINUED)
As a touring and recording singer-songwriter with a career spanning 35 years, Mateo has much to show for her efforts and talent. Beginning her music career working with Brazilian musician, composer and arranger Tadeu Demarco deepened her commitment to centering Afro-Indigenous music in her work. In partnership with Demarco, they fused Afro-Caribbean music with Brazilian jazz leading to the emergence of the Dominican alternative music movement in the 1980’s. In defiance of rural folk music’s stigmatization during Spanish Christianization during colonial times, the alternative music movement and her latest solo project led to the resurgence of Indigenous and African spirituality and bridged the cultural gap between rural Dominican music, originating from syncretic religious ceremonies influenced by Taíno and African spirituality and Catholicism, and the Latin music world. Mateo’s discography includes: “Vamo a Gozá” (2017), “Anacaona” (2009) and “Tres Américas” (1996). “Vamo a Gozá,” released at the David Rubenstein Atrium at the Lincoln Center in New York City, was followed by her tour of the Dominican Republic in early 2018. She was a guest artist on Magín Díaz’s album “El Orisha de la Rosa,” which was nominated for Best Folk Album 2017 in the Latin Grammys.
Today, Mateo’s shamanic healing practice is largely inspired by the strength of her ancestors and compassion of her spirit guides. Her music career, research, and spirituality work in congruence towards resistance and resilience. Her current passion project is creating her own ceramic replicas of pre-Hispanic Taíno and South American shamanic instruments. Currently living in Los Angeles, she also enjoys listening to the music of indigenous peoples across the world, researching spiritual philosophies, music and art of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, hiking in the mountains of southern California, and is an avid traveler.