Malamanya brings intensity to new CD

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Photo courtesy of Malamanya

When members of the Twin Cities band Malamanya began to see growing enthusiasm for their music in the last year or so, they were pleasantly surprised.

A consistent crowd of dancers and fans arrived at the group’s shows to see its interpretation of Afro Cuban son and other Latin music styles.

“We didn’t really know what to expect,” said Adriana Rimpel, the band’s lead singer. “I’d been hearing when bands first form you have to pay your dues.”

Rimpel is too modest. In three years, the band has earned its reputation – through practice, crowd-pleasing shows and a repertoire that includes Latin American favorites and originals featured on EP I, its debut recording of a couple of years ago.

Looking ahead to the summer dance season, Malamanya is sticking to that formula with EP II, a new release that the band will unveil in a show Saturday at Whiskey Junction in Minneapolis.


Recorded at Ambient Sounds in West St. Paul, the album has seven solid tracks. Joining Rimpel are bandleader Tony Shreiner on upright bass and guitar; Luis Ortega Castrellon on congas; Jesse Marks on timbales; Trevor May on tres and guitar; and Jason Marks on trumpet.

Although a continuation of the band’s first effort, the new recording brings a more-intense spirit – with multiple rhythms and nice harmonies that Rimpel hopes will keep fans engaged.

“We’ve been playing this music for three years and we’re able to take more risks,” she said. “It’s more uninhibited so you will hear more of a party sound.”

Guided by masterful performers who have encouraged them not to become too hung up on how others performed the music, Malamanya’s members aim to be faithful to the music they play while trying to develop their own style.

Rimpel, who was inspired by jazz singers, has particularly taken that to heart, using her mezzo soprano voice in playful ways and employing syncopation to become another polyrhythmic instrument. Check out the band on “Red Light Morning,” an original song in Spanish and English:

On Saturday, she said, Malamanya won’t stray too far from what has brought the band this far, but anyone who goes to the show will hear some surprises.

“They can also expect a more intense and celebratory vibe,” Rimple said. “They should expect to get ready for summer.”