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MAKU Soundsystem bound to make an impression

January 31, 2020

Courtesy MAKU Soundsystem
FUSION OF SOUND: The Latin American psychadelic rock band MAKU Soundsystem will perform on Saturday night at Ladd House at 10:30 p.m. A new, yet-to-be-announced student music group will also give an opening performance at 9:30 p.m..

“A party for the people.”

That is what the Latin band MAKU Soundsystem promises its audiences. This Saturday night, the New York-based band will be bringing that party to Ladd House in a performance organized by WBOR in collaboration with the Latin American Student Association (LASO).

MAKU Soundsystem’s music is a dynamic fusion of psychedelic rock, Colombian folklore, electronic, cumbia and jazz that the band dubs the “immigrant beat.” Most of the band’s members are Colombian immigrants to New York City.

LASO treasurer Jamil Guzman ’21 said the group’s music defies expectations for Latinx music.

“Typically, reggaeton, bachata or salsa are the genres that come to mind immediately,” said Guzman. “I think that [the concert] is going to add some variety and give some exposure to some genres that people didn’t know before.”

Diego Grossmann ’20, co-leader of WBOR, first heard MAKU Soundsystem when one of the group’s songs was used as the musical interlude on the radio show Democracy Now, and he proposed that LASO bring them to campus. Grossmann said that he is excited to diversify the music scene at Bowdoin and beyond.

“It’s not a musical act that might otherwise even come to Maine,” said Grossmann. “[This] allows us to bring musicians to the area who wouldn’t otherwise have a reason to come up to Maine and not only puts Bowdoin on the map but it puts this whole state, region, community on the map.”

The distinct music of MAKU Soundsystem will not be the only sound introduced to the Bowdoin campus on Saturday. A new mystery student band will be debuting on Saturday night to open for MAKU Soundsystem.

“We often have student bands open, but I think people are used to seeing a lot of the same names,” said Grossmann. “I’m really glad that there’s going to be a totally new group performing and that they’ll get to make their debut and hopefully that’ll lead to bigger things.”

Both the new student band and MAKU Soundsystem will play original songs as well as some improvised pieces based on audience feedback. Overall, it promises to be a high energy, interactive performance, said Guzman.

“We’re envisioning [having] the band in the middle of the first floor in Ladd and the audience around it to have a 360-view of the performance,” said Guzman. “Given that there’s a lot of instruments, a lot of variety in the way that they create their music, [this] might amplify that.”

The event’s coordinators are hoping that MAKU Soundsystem will draw a large and diverse audience.

“WBOR’s name [being] on it will attract a certain crowd, but then there’s the fact that it’s a collaboration with LASO and the fact that Ladd is hosting,” said Grossmann. “We’ll provide a good opportunity to bring [together] a lot of different groups and subcultures on campus that don’t really get to interact too much in the same space—let alone dance and have a good time in the same space—around music that is probably something new for everybody.”

MAKU Soundsystem will perform at Ladd House this Saturday at 10:30 p.m.. The mystery opener will play at 9:30 p.m..


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