Andino Suns hoping to light up Prince Albert

Jason Kerr
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For Andrés Dávalos of the band Andino Suns, his love for music started with a home he’d always felt, but rarely seen.

Andino Suns will play the Rawlinson on May 2 at 7:30 p.m.  The band consists of (from left to right) Pablo Dávalos, Andrés Palma, Erik Mehlsen, Leif Mehlsen, Brian Warren, Andrés Dávalos and Antonio Dávalos. 

As the son of a Chilean dissident who left Augusto Pinochet’s rule for Canada in the ’70s, Dávalos says Chilean music was always a part of their life, even as they grew up in Canada.

“When you walked in you were walking into Chile,” Dávalos says of his childhood home.  “The house is decorated like Chile, the food was Chile, the music was Chile and naturally, all of us, me and my brothers, there’s three of us, we started playing music, Chilean music.”

Since those early years, Dávalos and Andino Suns have incorporated a much wider assortment of sounds, such as classic rock, reggae and eastern European influences.  However, the band is still true to their roots.

“As you grow and start loving more Latin American music you just start pulling those things into your music that you’re creating,” he says.

While Andino Suns does incorporate some common musical instruments like guitars, harmonicas and drums, they draw heavily on Chile’s indigenous music.  Using instruments, like the charango, and a variety of wind instruments from the Andes region in South America, Andino Suns plays a fast-paced style that Dávalos says is fairly unconventional, but successful.

“We’re not your traditional indie band that’s going hard,” Dávalos says.  “On the music scene, over the last five years, it seems like that’s all we’re getting as far as independent music, but for us, we’ve been able to fill that niche market of world music that festivals are increasingly wanting to have.”

With seven members now, four of Latin American descent, Andino Suns has expanded to become a vibrant, musically diverse group that’s played at JunoFest, Ness Creek Music Festival, Gateway Music Festival and the Cold Snap Music Festival in B.C.

They’re also set to release their sophomore album, called It’s Time to Rise, in May.

“It is very unique and I think that’s where we can benefit as far as playing festivals and stuff like that, he says.

Unsurprisingly Dávalos’ family didn’t just influence his musical tastes, but his views as well.  The band carries a strong political message as well.

“The content lyrically is very political, addressing issues,” he says.  “Aboriginal issues, the residential school issues, the stealing of territories of the aboriginals over the last 500 years in South America and not only that, we try to incorporate aboriginal rhythms and stuff into our music.”

That’s not to say the groups songs aren’t a lot of fun.  Dávalos says you might not know what you’re dancing too, but they try not to be depressing, or go heavy on the political messaging.

“We have those themes, but there’s also a lot of themes of fun, love, going to the beach, going to a party in Chile, having some beers with your friends, but there are undertones in songs that definitely focus on social injustice,” he says.

Andino Suns is scheduled to play at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre on May 2 before performing at the Regina Folk Festival on August 8.  The Rawlinson show starts at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets cost $23 and are available online.

“We can’t wait,” Dávalos says.  “We hope P.A. comes out and experiences world music because it is really something unique and it’s really something that is impressionable.  We hope to see lots of people and we’re excited.”

Organizations: Prince Albert, E.A. Rawlinson Centre

Geographic location: Chile, Canada, South America B.C.

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