Music » Band of the Week

Local Band in Focus

Wanyama

Meet the Band: Zack Dimmer (bass), Brandyn Lowry (vocals), Niko Salwan (drums), Timmy Sawchik (guitar), and Charlie Wilson (vocals, saxophone, and keys)

Cease and Desist: Wanyama began as a band called Cleveland Zoo, but according to Wilson, "it turns out the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has that copyright dating back to the 1930s." So the band adopted the name Wanyama, which means "animals" in Swahili. Wilson claims it's "something people don't forget." Even if they can't pronounce it.

Wrong Way: The Cleveland group's mix of funk, hip-hop, and reggae sounds so much like Sublime that its music was once criticized as sounding like one of Sublime's B-sides. Wanyama took it as a compliment.

Why You Should Hear Them: The band's funky reggae-rock mix goes down smooth onstage. They've played on bills with the Original Wailers, Tribal Seeds, Carlos Jones and the P.L.U.S. Band, the Macpodz, and the Meditations. And even though they sound like that one California band, "We will always represent Cleveland music," says Wilson.

Where You Can Hear Them: wanyamaband.com

Where You Can See Them: At the Grog Shop on October 26.

Alexander Hall

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