Gospel grandmothers get their big break in time for Folk Fest

Ester Mae Wilbourn has been dreaming about travelling the world as a singer since she was six-years-old.

Now, at the age of 67, she's doing just that.

Hailing from Como, Mississippi, Wilbourn makes up one-third of the gospel group The Como Mamas. Willbourn said she's out to prove that you can realize your dreams no matter where you are from or how old you are.

Wilbourn and her two cousins, Della Daniels and Angelia Taylor, who are now grandmothers, will be performing on the main stage of the Regina Folk Fest on Sunday.

As touring musicians, their lives are a far cry from what they knew growing up.

Wilbourn said they didn't have running water, and her first job was picking cotton on her grandfather's farm.

"We didn't have much, but one thing we did have was a lot of love," she said.

Wilbourn started singing at church every Sunday at the age of six. That's where she discovered her love of music.

"The elders would be singing and I would sit and listen to those old gospel songs and I learned them at an early age," she explained.

Wilbourn said she wanted to pursue a singing career, but didn't have support from her family.

It wasn't until decades later, when a music producer from Daptone Records came to town, that The Como Mamas formed.

Their first album Como Now was recorded in a church over two days.

"It was very exciting to have the opportunity to be recording because we didn't realize at that time that our voices were gifted enough...that people would listen and really enjoy," Wilbourn said.

From then on, Wilbourn said it's been one success after another.

That first album was followed up with Getting an Understanding and their latest release: Move Upstairs.

With their success, The Como Mamas have had the opportunity to travel of all over the world. The group is set to perform in Belgium, the Netherlands and France in November.

"It's the joy of my life," Wilbourn said. "This is like a dream come true for all of us."

The Como Mamas will perform at the Regina Folk Fest in a workshop on the Sunlit Stage 2 from 4:20-5:20 p.m. CST, and on the mainstage from 7-7:50 p.m.