Entertainment

Mal Maiz Brings Afro-Latin Dance Music to ArtPort

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The Burlington-based world music group, Mal Maiz, plays at the Catamount ArtPort on Oct. 20.

ST. JOHNSBURY – Catamount Arts will present Vermont’s own Mal Maiz, at Catamount ArtPort, Friday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. A psychedelic take on Afro-Latin dance music, Mal Maiz promises an evening of rhythms.

Costa Rican frontman and multi-instrumentalist Maiz “Brujo” Vargas Sandoval formed his Afro-Latin Orchestra 10 years ago, when the band’s thrilling blend of cumbia, Latin, and reggae influences secured them a spot in the epicenter of a thriving Burlington world music scene.

Incorporating Afro-Caribbean beats and storytelling, Mal Maiz they played a sold-out show in 2019 to kick off VPR’s Live from the Fort New Voices project, a collaboration with the Flynn Center showcasing enduring world music traditions by Vermont’s must-see performers.

“I try to offer a show that’s not just one thing,” Sandoval told Jordan Adams for Seven Days.

Mal Maiz mixes “joropo, merengue, mapalé, rumba, batata and other rhythms with … familiar strains of jazz and funk,” wrote Adams. “But their signature style is cumbia. The Colombian genre blends indigenous and Spanish influences and dominates Central and South America. It’s a danceable, festive rhythm, incorporating brass, accordion, percussion and stringed instruments.” The band is known “for ‘cumbia-fying’ popular tunes,” Adams continued, “such as Black Sabbath’s ‘Iron Man.’”

For advance tickets or to learn more about additional fall and winter programming by Catamount Arts, visit catamountarts.org, call (802) 748-2600, or visit the Catamount Arts pop-up box office in the Caplan’s Building, on Railroad Street.

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