“Social processes can be arrested by neither crime nor force. History is ours, and people make history.” – Salvador Allende
Andino Suns grew out of the desire for Andrés Davalos to recreate the music he’d grown up listening to at home. His parents were exiled to Canada when a fascist dictatorship took over their homeland, Chile, in the early 70s. Though they found peace in Canada, Andrés’ parents missed terribly the way of life from which they had been violently uprooted. They continued to surround themselves with their Chilean culture, passing it down to their children through stories, traditional Andean music and folk dances, and media. It’s no surprise then that a worldview of political activism, hope, and love, underpins the music of Andino Suns.
The folkloric music of his childhood marked Andrés indelibly, and by 2009 he had written a handful of Spanish songs with traditional Andean influences. He recruited his friend, Andrés Palma, also a son of Chilean exiles who were similarly uprooted to Canada. The two of them, recognizing the potential for greatness that lay in those songs, invited other equally inclined musicians to join them. The music they made, a fusion of traditional Andean instrumentation and modern Latin grooves, culminated in their debut self-titled album, which they recorded and released in 2013.
Bolstered by the success of their first album, Andino Suns set about entertaining larger audiences. The songs, upbeat and fit for the dance floor, ignited festival crowds including JUNOfest in 2013. At this early stage in the band’s development, concert goers recognized hits from that album. Cantando el Pajaro, a song about love at first sight, continues to be a crowd favourite.
Their live performances were, and continue to be, effervescent, brimming with fiery instrumentation and dynamic vocals. Though their earlier songs were predominantly in Spanish, their talent and authentic musical energy captivated audiences young and old; music is indeed a universal language.
“A wild and wooly molding of Ennio Morricone and Manu Chao” – Roddy Campbell, Penguin Eggs
A year later, Andino Suns returned to the studio to record their sophomore album, It’s Time to Rise. Though not a departure from the overall Latin tone of their first album, It’s Time to Rise was experimental and diverse, adding songs in English, and blending together a whole host of genres — rock, reggae, and a smattering of Eastern European beats. The result was a genre-defying sound that wowed festival audiences in Saskatchewan and all through Canada, including Heatwave Music Festival in Prince George, BC; Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg MB; Western Canadian Music Industry Awards in Victoria, BC; Festival Musique du Bout du Monde in Gaspé, QC. In addition to playing festivals, Andino Suns have showcased at Breakout West, Folk Alliance International Conference in Kansas City, and Mundial Montreal.
It’s Time to Rise earned Andino Suns their first Western Canadian Music Awards nomination for World Recording of the Year in 2015. In 2017, following the release of their third album Madera (2016), the Suns were crowned World Artist of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards.
Madera, Andino Suns’ most ambitious album, marked a return to their traditional Andean sound but was equally rooted in the vastness of the Canadian prairies. This duality, the cultural hyphenation of the band, is further celebrated on this album with multiple collaborations with local talent. Singer-songwriter Megan Nash joins Andrés Davalos in singing Madre, – Spanish for Mother – the second song on Madera. Megan’s and Andrés’ voices complement each other beautifully in a song that’s airy and memorable. Other home-grown appearances on Madera include The Dead South, Keiffer McLean, Scott Richmond and members of the Regina Symphony Orchestra. Daniel Emden, a Montréal-based percussionist of international repute co-produced the album.
“Unable to understand or speak Spanish, I can still feel the passion of Madera, this album of eight songs from Regina group Andino Suns.” Bill Robertson – Saskatoon Star Phoenix.
The Fall of 2017 saw Andino Suns release a new single, Tiburón. Performed in French and Spanish, Tiburón’s gypsy jazz tone and the Quebecois French accent are an homage to the city of Montréal from which band member Cristian Moya had just returned after a two-year stint spent honing both his musical and French language chops.
Andino Suns have succeeded in creating a musical energy that is a gathering place for all – the labourer, the intellectual, the spiritual, the aged, and the young. Theirs is the kind of music that, even if silenced, you’d continue to hear it.
El Leon and The Strangers aims at making you rock, dance and think critically. They write and sing original songs that go from the whimsical and fun part of life to the thoughtful and sometimes unsettling lyrics about social realities. It is a band formed by South American rockers established in Winnipeg. Together they fusion Rock with folk elements from each of their cultures of origin, using a myriad of world instruments such as hand drums, charangos, quena, accordions, among other. During their first year the band played almost every venue at their local scene of Winnipeg. In 2019 the band released their first single called “Cumbia Baby” produced and engineered at Private Ear studios in Winnipeg. Promoting that single they played in various out of province venues including The Marquee, Calgary, AB, The 40 Brandon, MB, and Fiestaval Latin festival in Calgary. In that festival they opened for the Chilean Rock Legend “Los Prisioneros”.
Other Winnipeg highlights include successful performances at Folklorama, Reggae and Socca Festival, collaborations with other groups at the Winnipeg Jazz Festival. The band is preparing to hit the road in a full swing western Canada tour in 2020 and the upcoming festival season, with the release of their new self-titled EP. Their ambitious schedule for the near future includes releasing 10 songs during 2020 and completing their first ever Western Canada Tour.