Lopez returning home to Dream Cafe
When Oscar Lopez says playing at the Dream Café is like coming home, he really means it.
It helps that the Latin guitarist, back in Toronto now, lived in Naramata and still owns a home there. But the concept of home and the Dream Café reaches deeper.
“It’s very comfortable, it’s very cozy. It’s like playing, honest to god, I am not making things up, like playing in the living room for the family,” said Lopez.
“I know a lot of artists who have played in the venue, we are very good friends, that tell me the same,” he added. “Good food, a good cook, a good wine, what else can you ask? Good hosts and it is always a great audience, they are ready to have fun.”
One of the best things about Dream Café audiences, Lopez said, is the respect they show for the performer. Before the show, everyone is eating, drinking and talking, but that changes when the stage lights go on.
“That’s a cool thing to see. When you play, everybody is eating and talking, and wine, but when the performer comes, and starts working and playing, it’s a completely beautiful, wonderful silence,” said Lopez. “You can hear a voice here and there, but they are talking about the music they are receiving in their hearts. In a big venue, you don’t get this.”
Right now, Lopez is in the studio, after a long dry spell where he said he was unable to create. But now, he is putting the finishing touches on his solo album Apasionado, which he hopes to have finished by the time he plays the Dream Café on Feb 14 and 15, though he has his doubts it will be ready.
“It took me more than 10 years to record my solo album. I am not going to rush. this album is probably one of the best things I have ever done,” said Lopez. “But I am most definitely going to be playing three or four songs from the new album.”
When the album is released, there will be some names on the credits, that will be very familiar to music lovers in the Okanagan.
“My engineer is an amazing guy, Justin Glibbery. He is my right-hand guy, we work together, we are brothers. Having him on the album is a privilege and an honour.”
Percussionist Mike Treadwell also makes an appearance, though Lopez didn’t want to say too much about the song featuring him, but hinted that it makes good use of Treadwell’s beatboxing skills.
“One of the reasons I wanted to have Michael, I love his percussion, his style, the way he plays, his soul, his energy,” said Lopez.
Soul and energy are at the core of the new album, said Lopez, explaining that apasionado translates to passionate in English.
“To be able to do it as long as I have, you really have to have passion for what you do, otherwise it will not work. I am apasionado,” said Lopez. “Live performance is my favourite thing, because you improvise, you do things you wouldn’t on an album. There is nothing like playing live, that’s the best.”