Meet La Gran Mawon, Dominican Afro Roots Party Band

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Né(e): Kndelo Eclipse, Gato Encarnación, Jah Beat, Zahir Ajam, Mitiko Viento, Jose Aquino Caminante, Dany LedesMan, Salvador Alba.

Raíces: Santo Domingo, D.R.

Sounds Like: Batey Cero, Rita Indiana, Fela Kuti, Mano Negra

You should listen to La Gran MawOn because…there’s a lot more than corny bachata coming out of La República.

Known for their late-night, trance-inducing jam sessions, La Gran MawOn (which they translate from The Big Maroon) is more an artists collective than an formal band. From the get-go their goal was to research the Afro-Taino musical roots of the Caribbean island Kiskeya-Ayiti (comprised of Haiti and Dominican Republic) to recreate them in a respectful manner, while updating them with modern influences from hip-hop, reggae, rock, and ska.

The result is a hypnotic party of syncopated drums and voodoo chanting that when mixed with live theatrics, face and body painting, politically charged message, and the immediacy of their punk-rock delivery, becomes irresistible.

Of course, due to their jamming nature, La Gran MawOn is one of those bands that has to be experienced live and direct, because regardless of how good their recordings could be, they’ll never capture that energy they generate on stage. Still, the Dominican combo is currently working in the studio and “Fuego Petro” is their first single, available online. It’s a free download so everybody is invited to join the party!