Just think of all the great things that come in packs of 12: Eggs, donuts, roses, cheap beer — heck, that sounds like a fun summer we spent back in college. What also comes in 12 is our series of featured artists each year. In 2008, we highlighted a dozen bands that should be on your radar. In the coming pages, we give you a more intimate look at these local acts that are On the Verge. Nayas. It’s been three years since Thomas Gobena — then with D.C. reggae band Zedicus and now the bass guitarist for the irreverent Gypsy punk reggae rock band Gogol Bordello — strolled into Adams Morgan curious to see what one of his favorite Ethiopian restaurants, Red Sea, had become. In its place was Bossa Bistro and Lounge, where a boisterous, fun-loving crowd salsa danced, head bopped to reggae, hopped along to ska and jammed to various other global party beats performed by beloved resident Friday night Latin band Nayas. Gobena was impressed and became instant friends with Nayas’ core duo, guitarists Soy Lopez and Luis Torrealva. Once Gobena became more established with the globe-trotting Gogol and more connected in the music industry, he sought to help out the fledgling seven-year-old band. “Every time I go to Bossa, it’s a full house, everybody dancing, partying, a great live band, and that’s why I wanted to get involved with them,” said Gobena, who is now producing Nayas’ upcoming new album, due out this year. “Since I really liked the direction they were going, the music, the energy, and all of them as a person, I offered my production services.” It’s a tremendous improvement for Nayas compared to their 2006 self-titled and self-produced debut CD, and Lopez was clearly excited about this latest project. “This is definitely a step in the right direction,” he said. “There’s a reason why people work with producers, start listening to advice. It’s going to sound a lot better, and it’ll get us the exposure that we need.” While Nayas — which recently welcomed original drummer Joey Rossetti back into the fold, and which also features percussionist Joey Carrasquillo and rhythm guitarist Lilo Gonzalez — shops the six-track demo of their new album around hoping to sign with an independent label, they continue to hone their craft at Bossa. It was there where they recently enlisted bass guitarist and Bossa owner Rob Colton, Thievery Corporation vocalist Karina Zeviani, and resident Madams Organ jazz saxophonist Walter Tates, Jr., in a freestyle jam session for the ages. The group tested out their new, more social-political songs like the aggressive punk rock-ish “Que Pasa” and “Johnny Murder” — both tracks calling for the end of war and violence, but with addictive, danceable beats long-time fans can get into. “We’ve got songs that go from cumbia to straight up punk, letting out this rage,” said Lopez. “As an artist you try to digest things that you see in the news, you get heartbroken, and the only way I can digest it is by song. We take serious topics, but put a positive energy into it.” Nayas performs occasional Friday nights at Bossa Bistro and Lounge, 2463 18th St NW. Nayas is also performing at the Black Cat on Jan. 9 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15. For More information on Nayas, visit www.myspace.com/nayas.