Malo Malo: The energising sounds of salsa, peppered with soul and jazz
Photo credit: malomalo.band
Spanning across Australia and Colombia, Latin band Malo Malo treats listeners with an exciting, multicultural approach to contemporary Latin music. Combining traditional forms of salsa with soulful jazz connotations, the Malo Malo sound is energetic, uplifting and seductive.
Bandleader Danny G Felix is passionate about creating authentic Latin music that honours its traditions, but also extends them through other influences.
While Danny doesn’t come from a Latin American background himself, his strong appreciation for the culture, language and especially the music, dates back to his childhood. He first discovered a love for salsa music at the age of fourteen, when his parents took him to the Darling Harbour Latin Festival.
I could see straight away that it was an intricate style of music that takes a lot of study. It was a bunch of elements that came together to make this big amazing sound, and that was what really attracted me to salsa music.
After the festival, Danny began listening to Cuban and salsa mixtapes and studying the music closely. Over the years, he has come to consider Latin America as an essential part of his own identity.
Today, he divides his time between Sydney and Cali, Colombia – composing, recording and performing music with both the Colombian and Australian personnel of Malo Malo. Their debut album Australeño – which came out last year – explores the experiences of an Aussie living in Colombia.
Danny attributes much of the band’s style to his own very multicultural upbringing, growing up in the diverse suburb of Tempe in Sydney’s Inner West.
“My best friends growing up were African, Chilean, Afghani, Chinese, Macedonian. I feel privileged in that I’ve never felt shut out of other cultures.”
He also spent a part of his childhood in Chicago, so it was natural for him to develop a love for African American music, particularly jazz and soul.
All of these cultural influences are palpable in Malo Malo’s music. English and Spanish lyrics are intertwined with African beats, Latin dance rhythms and traditional salsa forms.
I hope audiences feel inspired, uplifted, that it makes them want to dance and have a good time.