Introducing The Maya Spectra Part III: Donald Peña Jr / by Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen

For the past few weeks at Anima Artist Management, we have been slowly introducing to you one of the most eclectic musical trios around. In “Introducing The Spectra,” the Anima Blog has taken the time to get a true taste of what it takes to bring three creative minds together.

In the third and final installment of the series, we will be introducing Donald Peña Jr, guitar player and former “B-Boy.” Unlike most musicians who started their craft young, Donald discovered his love of “B-Boying” or breakdancing through his friends and cousins. From hearing the music of James Brown, Erykah Badu, A Tribe Called Quest, and a slew of 90s Hip Hop, Donald began his relationship with music in a very different way than most instrumentalists.

 

At the age of 17 and still practicing his passion in dance, brother and musical partner Julian Peña received a guitar for his birthday. After dabbling with Julian’s guitar, Donald began to slowly foster what would later become a serious interest in the instrument. As we read in the last installment, Julian would eventually trade the guitar in for drumsticks.

After graduating in high school in 2003, Donald began studying Psychology, while also attempting to invent his own method of playing guitar. After seeing Julian’s progress with learning an instrument through traditional methods, he would later change his own style to help him reach his full potential.

Due to this experience as a B-Boy, Donald took the rhythm and elements he learned through his former passion and incorporated it instrumentally with the guitar. Later, he would begin to tune into more progressive rock, as well as garnering more inspiration for the guitar.

After dropping out of school, Donald began playing the guitar almost constantly, finding ways to develop his craft and turning it into something great.

Artists like John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Bill Evans gave Donald inspiration through their playing styles, as well as specific training in the realm of jazz guitar.

Donald’s contributions to The Maya Spectra are not unlike what his other two counterparts wish to accomplish. While the band includes many global sounds, Donald makes it a point to avoid appropriation of culture, and only bring appreciation and acknowledgement to those genres. A melody for Donald can start as easily as sequencing a sound on a guitar, while also mentioning the slow and thoughtful process that the trio can go through in developing their sound.

Refined ideas are the name, and creating a balanced artistic synergy from jamming are the game. Donald’s unconventional musical journey from B-Boying to learning jazz elements on guitar offers a unique perspective to The Maya Spectra. From his own words, working with the group is like opening a “hodge-podge of artistic vessels and conduits” that come together in essential moments.

We want to thank The Maya Spectra for allowing us to detail their journey’s up to this point, and thank the readers for tuning in every few weeks for the skinny on how their music comes together.

Stay tuned for their full-length upcoming LP, as well as tuning into their last release, Music Box E.P. available on Bandcamp

Donald Peña Jr

The Maya Spectra