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NAYAS Headlining Distrito Music Fest on Aug. 26

The headliner of this year’s Distrito Music Fest at Union Stage on Aug. 26 is NAYAS (”Nayas”), the iconic DMV band from the early 2000’s that are reuniting for DMF with plans of picking up where they left off! Alchemical caught up with Joey Carrasquillo, vocalist and percussionist for the band. 

NAYAS promotinal graphic with members of the band
Photo courtesy of NAYAS

NAYAS consists of Carrasquillo (backup vocals/percussions), Luis Torrealva (lead vocals/bass guitar), Soy Lopez (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Carlos Romero (backup vocals/lead guitar), Scott Schoem (keyboards), and Joey Rossetti (drums). Carrasquillo particularly joined the band in 2004. “We were consistently playing gigs probably from 2004 all the way to 2013 on a regular basis,” he says. “Bossa in Adams Morgan … We played there every single weekend and with bigger gigs, we headlined on so many other occasions and things of that nature.”

He continues, “Between 2013 and 2019 we did gigs here and there, but it wasn’t frequent at all. But in 2019 we decided to do an official reunion gig, and we did that with a couple other bands.” After the reunion, he says they tried to come back, but then COVID came. “That completely killed the momentum of us coming back and doing anything – returning, so to speak, to try to get back in the scene and reestablish ourselves,” Carrasquillo says.

“We got together maybe once or twice and we recorded some new music that we’re actually hoping to release in the near future.”

Carrasquillo would describe the group’s music as “universal; it’s a worldly sound of Reggae, Rock, Latin, Ska … You will hear songs where all of that is blended into one and you will hear a song that is more Reggae influenced; you will hear a song that’s more Cumbia influenced; you will hear a song that is more Rock influenced, and then you’ll hear a song that’s more Ska influenced … We have managed to blend those sounds together to where it entertains the person who’s listening to the point where they might even want to shake their booty,” he says with a laugh.

“There is a lot of diversity within the band – there’s no question,” he adds. “Using myself as an example, I was born in Washington D.C., but ethnic wise I’m half-Peruvian, half Puerto Rican. Luis is Peruvian, but spent 15+ years in D.C. Soy Lopez is from Uruguay, Scott Schoem is from D.C. … I can go on and on.”

The band has songs that are in Spanish, English, and Portuguese.

black and white photo of two men performing in front of a sign that says "The Hamilton"
NAYAS performing at The Hamilton, Photo courtesy of NAYAS’s Facebook

We discussed their feelings about headlining Distrito Music Fest this year, and how grateful the band is to be a part of it. Carrasquillo considers headlining DMF as a bonus, as that was not the band’s intention when they applied. They are simply joyful to be and play together again with this particular lineup. “As long as we remain in touch, Nayas will always exist,” he says.

“The thought now is to ride this wave, so to speak; it’s an opportunity again, especially considering that we have new music that we are still in the process of recording and mixing. There’s even some instruments that haven’t even been recorded yet, but we’ll eventually get to that.”

He describes performing at this year’s event as “an honor. It is a privilege. I don’t take it for granted, and I think I speak for the rest of the band members when I say I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of these bands.”

He says he has to give a shout out to the other six bands that are playing this show – “They are the top bands in the DMV area from my understanding, and so it’s an honor that they have accepted us, to come and play with all of them.”

NAYAS feels the support of the community, no question about it. The band is extremely excited to perform, and has been practicing exceptionally hard to put on a great show! Their last gig was a private party, much smaller than headlining a festival, so they are eager to give it all they’ve got!

[Distrito Music Festival 2023 promotional flyer
Distrito Music Fest poster.

Learn more about NAYAS here, and find tickets to Distrito Music Fest this Saturday, Aug. 26 at Union Stage here. Find more coverage about the rest of this year’s DMF performers on our website – They are sure to put on an amazing live show that you don’t want to miss!

Alchemical Records contributor Emma Page

Emma Page

Emma Page, a recent Journalism graduate of The George Washington University, possesses a passion for music journalism and storytelling in all its forms. Originally from Baltimore, MD, when she is not writing, she can be found at a local concert or making music of her own.

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