Moving from Mexico City to Thunder Bay Ontario at the age of 15 was a big change for musician Tom Landa, who founded The Paperboys 20 years ago and most recently the Latin group, Locarno.
“I moved from a city of 26 million people to a town of 113,000,” he said, “and I moved at the beginning of February, so the beginning of their winter. It was a huge culture shock and a change for me for sure.”
But Landa loved it, he immersed himself in the Canadian culture and spoke only English for a time, getting into Canadian music and taking up the guitar.
Landa will perform with his 7-piece group Locarno at the Errington Hall Saturday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m.
Music has been top of Landa’s mind since he was young, taking in all the styles of music in Mexico, as well as heavy metal and hard rock.
“I was a little rocker kid,” he said, revealing his love for AC/DC, Motley Crue and KISS.
He started listening to lighter stuff when he got to Canada, he said, music by 54-40, Grapes of Wrath and Spirit of the West.
In high school Landa was part of a band and ended up winning a local competition, earning some money to record and some equipment.
In his mid-twenties Landa became more interested in his Mexican roots and fell in love with a Mexican American band called Los Lobos.
“There was a certain amount of nostalgia that came along with being reacquainted with (Mexican music). That’s what began my love of Mexican music,” he said, adding that other types of Latin music also began winning him over.
Landa moved to Vancouver in 1991 and within a couple years founded The Paperboys, an acclaimed Juno-award-winning-group which has released eight albums and played to sold out crowds around the globe.The Paperboys play Mexican Son Jarocho mixed with a variety of other genres like Irish, country, bluegrass, pop and funk.
Landa said he started Locarno to dive deeper into Mexican and Latin music, singing entirely in Spanish with Mexican and Cuban Son, Folk Music, Pop and Funk. Locarno is a fusion band, Landa said, blending contemporary with traditional elements.
“It’s danceable, it’s fun and it’s Latin music, without being a straight-up Salsa or Meringue band.”
Get $20 tickets to the show at Cranky Dog Music in Parksville, Heaven on Earth in Qualicum Beach and the Errington Store. Children under 12 are $5 and under 5’s are free. For more on Locarno visit www.locarnomusic.com.