Locarno is in the South Okanagan to deliver two evenings of latin music.
They’re taking over the Frank Venables Theatres in Oliver on Oct. 23, and they’ll be at the Dream Café in Penticton on Oct. 29.
Tom Landa, the group’s leader, was born and raised in Mexico before immigrating to Canada as a teenager. His first commercial success in music came through the Paperboys, which he’s the lead singer of. The Paperboys produces eclectic styles of music and includes latin, though they mostly revolve their sound around folk music.
In order to write music that focuses entirely on latin, Landa gathered like-minded musicians and formed Locarno.
“I really wanted to just form a group that dedicated itself to latin, specifically Mexican folk music,” he said. “It’s not just the only thing we play of course – we do some Columbian music, there are African influences, and above all, it’s all original material that we’ve composed ourselves.”
Locarno features eight members: two guitarists, a bass player, percussionist, a violin player and a two-piece horn section, in addition to Landa.
“It was quite a nice refreshing change, he said, though he still keeps busier with Paperboys.
“I’d been doing the Paperboys for so long that when Locarno came together, it felt strange with whole new material, a whole new band. The material is different for sure – it’s really refreshing for me every time I switch back.”
In addition to being the lead singer, Landa also plays an instrument called that jarana jarocha, an eight-string instrument.
“(The jarana jarocha) is basically what happened to baroque guitars when they came from Spain into Mexico,” he said. “They got just a little smaller. They have eight strings and are very percussive.”
For differing reasons, Landa is excited to share his music at both venues he’s performing in the South Okanagan.
“A small venue like the Dream Café is great because it doesn’t get much more intimate than that. In the front row, you can literally touch them. It’s really unique from an artists perspective. And with eight musicians we can barely fit on that stage so that also makes it interesting,” he said.
The band will have more room on the stage at the Frank Venables Theatres. That venue, Landa said, was built for Locarno’s style of acoustics.
“It’s really inspiring to play a venue that sounds so nice.”
Leading up to the present, Locarno was largely the efforts of Landa. But as the group prepares to record its next album, he said the rest of the band will be playing a stronger songwriting role.
“I pretty much made the last record alone, just me in the studio with a producer. This time I incorporated the guys who’ve been in the band for the last three or four years. So it’s more of a collective effort,” he said.
Locarno takes the stage at the Frank Venables Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for their performance at the Dream Café cost $30 and can be purchased by calling 250-490-9012. The show begins at 8 p.m.