Definition: Mah’op (mah-ope) noun. 1. Pomalo, fruit similar to a grapefruit, indigenous to the Asian country Laos. 2. The best reggae band in central California and arguably the best in the state.
Bold statement right? Anyone whose had the chance to see Mah'op play at local hot spots would say its not a far fetched statement, it’s a given.
Smooth sounds of reggae mixed with hard ska and rock influences resonate through the speakers. The best way to describe the music would be to say it gives you a natural high. If you close your eyes, the music takes you on a ride some where to a distant land, making you forget about all your worries and giving you a carefree outlook. And maybe that distant land could be somewhere like, say, Trinidad. The land where the steel pan originated, or to us non-islanders, the steel drum. It just so happens that Mah’op's drummer Larry Donawa, is from Trinidad. Not only is Larry from Trinidad, which is about 7 miles off the northern coast of Venezuela, he is a national steel pan champion in his native country. That fact alone justifies Mah’op as being one of the best reggae bands in Cali.
Meet Mah’op: Johnnie B. (guitar and lead vocals), Alan Stie (lead guitar), Ryan “KneeBone” Knee (bass) and Larry Donawa (drums). With band member’s ages ranging from 27 to 52, Mah-op might seem too diverse to come together to make good music. Surprisingly, the band sounds seamless and as one. Mah'op is a fantastically entertaining band for many reasons. One of those being soulful lead vocalist, Johnnie B's soothing and poignant voice that can be compared to late great Bradley Nowell. As you watch Johnnie pour his soul out into the microphone, you believe him. You believe what he’s saying, you believe in the passion, you believe in the music, you believe in Mah'op. You can watch them play every week, 2 or 3 times a week and every time it’s a treat. Someone can have the worst day at work or where ever. If they kick back and listen to the captivating sound of the central valley’s premier reggae band, I guaranty they will forget about their problems. With up beat songs like self titled song “Mah'op” and “Go Tell Your Momma” they will have the dance floor full of Mah'op die hards and new fans everywhere they go.