The story behind Shag Kava, the castle band in The Force Awakens 

For a brief moment in The Force Awakens, there was a huge shot of nostalgia when Rey, Han, Chewbacca and Finn walk into Maz’s Castle and we see a groovy band playing in the corner. It harked back to the same moment in the original Star Wars when the famed Mos Eisley Cantina Band were rocking out on stage to a couple of tunes, serving as the perfect backing music for one of the greatest scenes of the original trilogy as Han showed his cool nature and shaped his character for a generation by shooting Greedo before he had the chance to shoot first. The space opera had its cowboy, a real hero that audiences could relate to on a different level to the guy practicing his hokey religions.

The Force Awakens had another such defining scene, this time as Finn determined his future at a fork in the road. He could either choose a simple, anonymous life with some strange space creatures, or fight for the greater good with Rey on a much riskier path. Fortunately, for our sake he chose to the life of a “Big Deal”. More importantly, Rey makes a revealing discovery in the basement, with implications for the truth behind her mysterious past that will undoubtedly play out over the course of the planned trilogy.

The strange bunch of creatures and humans jamming out some reggae-inspired tunes on the stage was known initially as Maz’s Castle Band, though we have now learned that they are actually called Shag Kava.

Shag Kava was the brainchild of The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams and Hamilton writer and star Lin-Manuel Miranda, birthed out of a quick meeting in an intermission of the Broadway show. Half jokingly, Miranda told Abrams that he was keen to do the new cantina music, completely blind to the fact that there was already a planned equivalent scene.

They hooked up and created a couple of tunes: “Jabba Flow” and “Dobra Doompa”. It’s a nice Easter Egg for the film that won’t have been too obvious to those watching the film the first time around.

“Jabba Flow” is actually now available to buy from iTunes. It’s well worth checking out.

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