Music with a message

Mazacote’s lyrics carry a socially conscious message while their beats give everyone something to dance to.| Photo by Malcolm Aiken.

“We’re kind of like a family band at this point. These people have been in my life musically and personally for a long time,” says Malcolm Aiken, trumpeter and co-founder of Mazacote.

Mazacote is performing at the Vancouver World Music Festival on April 26, 2018 at Guilt & Co, GroundUp at 10 p.m.–1 a.m.

Who is Mazacote

Mazacote, a six-piece band featuring world and Latin music produces hard-hitting, energetic beats with Spanish lyrics.

“The Mazacote stamp is definitely apparent in our arrangement and percussion feel, pulling ideas from Mozambique, Nicaragua, and Cuba to name a few,” says David Lopez, Nicaraguan singer/songwriter and co-founder of Mazacote.

The name, Mazacote, comes from a part of a tune, explains Aiken. It’s when ‘the whole band breaks down and then builds back up into a frenzy of fire power.’ In some languages the name also translates into ‘a mix of things.’

“We are a big mix of things; we’re a mix of different cultures and people. Everyone in the band is an immigrant to this country,” says Aiken.

Mazacote is made up of six people including Aiken and Lopez, Carlos Arias on bass, Chris Couto on timbales, Robin Layne on congas and Niho Takase on piano.

About 20 years ago, Aiken, Lopez and Takase started playing in a big salsa band in Vancouver.

“We got really into it and a decade later we started our own band,” says Aiken. “The energy is pretty contagious, that kind of started me on my journey with playing world music.”

Aiken has also known Arias, Couto and Layne for years. The three would join to complete the band.

“It’s fun to bring all these really talented people together that also have a long history of working together, says Aiken. “You have to develop [the chemistry] over a long time and I feel very lucky that we have that as a group.”

Music with a message

“As the group’s front man and lyricist, I tend to focus our message towards being socially responsible, spreading the message of love, unity and perseverance,” says Lopez.

As a father, Lopez wanted to show his kids the importance of spreading positivity, even in small ways.

“When you have an audience, it’s a good opportunity to tell people to follow their dreams,” says Lopez.

Lopez explains that Mazacote’s sound is in the Afro-Caribbean realm, which lends itself well to a party and a family atmosphere.

“We have a chance to display positive messaging and some ideas that could provoke thought but also have a good time,” says Aiken.

This allows the audience to take what they will from Mazacote’s music.

“Whether that’s the party vibe or maybe they’re going to start latching on to some of those ideas we’re bringing forth,” he says.

Those ideas include issues such as immigration, missing home, starting a new family and what it means to maintain a connection to where your family is originally from.

“All in all, we want people to have a great time and put a smile on their face and if we can do that, our job is done,” says Aiken.

World Music Festival

The World Music Festival was founded in 2014 by bandmates Tom Landa and Robin Layne. Layne just so happens to also be a member of Mazacote.

“We had an inside scoop,” says Aiken.

The band played at the festival when it first opened and is returning for a second time.

“As a group we get a chance to change people’s minds and mood and create a great environment for people to have fun, dance and let loose a little bit,” says Aiken.

For more information on Mazacote and tour dates, please visit