Band of the Hour: MaWoN
By Rayme Samuels
MaWon cannot be put into any of the music industry’s boxes and are a group that prides itself on leading a cultural rebellion. They play reggae but are not a "reggae" band, they play Haitian rhythms but are not a "Haitian band", they might sing a song in Spanish but don’t want to be put in the "Latin Music category", and so on and so forth. A passion for playing music from other cultures and genres has put MaWoN on Miami’s music map.
Their moniker pays homage to the legendary first Haitian slaves to free their captivity and flee to the hills of the island and draws some allusions to their social activist agenda. Playing in front of the Miami melting pot (Haitian, Cuban, Italian, French, Irish, American, Jewish, Indian, Asian and other audiences), the band’s global mission and smooth Caribbean flavor manifests itself in lyrics that are meant to spark change, action, remorse or hope.
The core of the Miami based band consists of Ralph Cassagnol (guitar/lead vocals), Harry Leconte (bass), Andrew Stoch (keys/sound engineering), and Alena Lowenthal (lead vocals). While gigging in and around South Florida takes up a lot of their time, the group finds opportunities to give back as often as possible. Working closely with relief organization Food For the Poor Inc., an organization that chose their hit song “No One Cares” to inspire crowds at their rallies, MaWon enjoys any opportunity to assist with gathering donations and building awareness for the current sociopolitical climate in Haiti.
“We hope that everyone finds a little something positive to take away,” says frontman Cassagnol. “On a general level as long as the music evokes some type of reaction or emotion, be it dancing, joy or sadness, shame or pride it's ok, because we know this means it is being heard.” Be sure to catch them this summer as they play in South Florida or on the road as they tour to New York, Boston, Haiti and Montreal.
MaWoN will perform at 10 p.m. on Thursday, June 18 at Casanova Suites, 524 Ocean Drive; 305-531-0101.
Visit their myspace page at www.myspace.com/mawonmusic.