What if We Could Make a Taíno “Lion King”?


BY Julia Taveras

Irka Mateo is on a mission to bring us back to our Taíno roots through a surprising medium: animation.

According to biologists, Taíno DNA is present in 27% of the Dominican population, but the truth is that we see very few (if any?) Taíno expressions in media and film. A seasoned Caribbean folklorist and musician — and mother to emerging artist Jarina de Marco, who we frequently cover here — Mateo boasts an impressive voice as well as an ambitious project.


Deminan KaraKaraKol is the concept trailer for a collaboration with Mateo, the French-Dominican animator Paloma Garcia Minard, and the Smithsonian Latino Institute. The short is based on a creational myth of water and sea creatures, a taste of what is to come if the project gets fully funded.

Based on 15th century accounts, in the days when Taíno Gods and Cemí-Gods (get it?) lived in the ethereal world, Itiba Kaubaba died while giving birth to quadruplets. One of her sons Deminan KaraKaraKol, became a hero when, through adventures and mischief, he managed to prepare the world for the Taínos.

Wouldn’t it be great to see a film about Taíno culture blow up like the Lion King (a story that is thought to be loosely based on the Epic of Sundiata) did?

Watch the teaser below!

Check this out on Remezcla.